Lossing's Field Book of the War of 1812, Chapter X - Hostilities of the Indians in the Northwest.






The Indiana Territory. – Harrison its Governor. – His wise Administration. – Encroachments on the Indians. – British Emissaries again at Work. – Tecumtha and his Family. – The Prophet’s Vision. – Tecumtha’s Craft. – His Inspiration. – The superstitious Indians excited. – Tecumtha’s Project of a Confederation. – Harrison denounces the Prophet. – Tecumtha’s Boldness. – Signs of Indian Hostilities. – The Mission of Joseph Barron. – His hostile Reception by the Prophet. – Tecumtha at Vincennes. – His Arrogance. – Harrison’s Speech. – Hostile Demonstration by the Indians. – Unsuccessful Attempts to conciliate Tecumtha. – Roving Plunderers. – Tecumtha’s Fears and Duplicity. – Preparations for fighting the Indians. – Colonel John P. Boyd. – Response to a Call for Volunteers. – Harrison’s March up the Wabash with Troops. – Fort Harrison built. – Deputations of friendly Indians. – A Night at Peru. – A Political Campaign. – Unpleasant Experience at Indianapolis. – Visit to Terre Haute and the Site of Fort Harrison. – Sketch of the Fort. – A Traveler in Trouble. – Greencastle and Crawfordsville. – A Visit to the Founder of Crawfordsville. – Two of Wayne’s Soldiers. – Journey from Crawfordsville to Lafayette. – Political Excitement at Lafayette. – Political Parties at that Time. – Indian Portraits. – Journey to the Battle-ground of Tippecanoe. – Harrison’s March up the Wabash Valley. – First Appearance of hostile Indians. – The Prophet’s Town approached. – The Indians alarmed. – Harrison’s Encampment on the Tippecanoe Battle-ground. – Its Arrangement and Composition. – Harrison’s Instructions. – The Camp in Repose. – The Indians in Commotion. – The Prophet’s Treachery. – Furious Attack on Harrison’s Camp. – Good Behavior of raw Troops. – Gallantry of Major Daviess. – Battle of Tippecanoe. – The Severity of the Battle. – Death of Major Daviess. – Defeat of the Indians. – The Prophet in Disgrace. – Return of the Army to Vincennes. – Tecumtha disappointed. – Recruiting-tour of the Prophet. – Life and Character of Major Daviess. – Harrison and the Tippecanoe Battle. – The Battle-ground. – A solemn Memorial Poem. – Departure for Chicago. – Journey across the Prairies. – Thunder-storm. – Arrival at Chicago.


"On Wabash, when the sun withdrew,
And chill November’s tempest blew,
Dark rolled thy waves, Tippecanoe,
Amidst that lonely solitude.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
But Wabash saw another sight;
A martial host, in armor bright,
Encamped upon the shore that night,
And lighted up her scenery."

"Bold Boyd led on his steady band,
With bristling bayonets burnished bright.
What could their dauntless charge withstand?
What stay the warriors’ matchless might?
Rushing amain, they cleared the field;
The savage foe constrained to yield
To Harrison, who, near and far,
Gave form and spirit to the war."


While the nation was agitated by political contentions, and the low mutterings of the thunder of an oncoming tempest of war were heard, heavy, dark, and ominous clouds of trouble were seen gathering in the northwestern horizon, where the Indians were still numerous, and discontents had made them restless.

In the year 1800, as we have seen (page 130 ), the Indiana Territory (then including the present States of Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin) was established, and the late President Harrison, then an energetic young man of less than thirty years of age, was appointed governor. He had resigned his commission of captain in the United States army, and for a few years had been employed in civil life. In the year 1805 a Territorial Legislature was organized, much to the discontent of the French settlers on the Wabash, and Vincennes, an old town already spoken of (page 40), was made the capital. Harrison was popular among all classes, and particularly with the Indians; and he managed the public affairs of the Territory with prudence and energy in the midst of many difficulties arising out of land speculations, land titles, treaties with the Indians, and the machinations of traders and the English in Canada. He had much to contend against in the demoralization of the Indians by immediate contact with the white people, especially effected by whisky and other spirituous liquors. 1

By a succession of treaties, Governor Harrison, at the close of 1805, had extinguished Indian titles to forty-six thousand acres of land within the domain of Indiana. Every thing had been done in accordance with the principles of exact justice, and, had the governor’s instructions been fully carried out, the Indians would never have had cause to complain. But settlers and speculators came, bringing with them, in many cases, the peculiar vices of civilized society, which, when copied by the Indians, were intensified fourfold. Regarding the natives as little better than the wild beasts of the forest, they defrauded them, encroached upon their reserved domain, and treated them with contempt and inhumanity. "You call us your children," said an old chief to Harrison one day, in bitterness of spirit – "you call us your children – why do you not make us happy, as our fathers, the French, did? They never took from us our lands; indeed, they were common between us. They planted where they pleased, and they cut wood where they pleased, and so did we. But now, if a poor Indian attempts to take a little bark from a tree to cover him from rain, up comes a white man and threatens to shoot him, claiming the tree as his own." 2 And so, with ample reason, they murmured on. Emissaries sent out by the British authorities in Canada fanned the flame of discontent; and Elliott, the old enemy of the Americans, still living near Malden, observing symptoms of impending war between the United States and Great Britain, was again wielding a potent influence over the chiefs of the tribes in the Northwest. Their resources, as well as privileges, were curtailed. Napoleon’s Continental System touched even the savage of the wilderness. It clogged and almost closed the chief markets for his furs, and the prices were so low that Indian hunters found it difficult to purchase their usual necessaries from the traders. At the beginning of 1811 the Indians were ripe for any enterprise that promised them relief and independence.


A powerful warrior had lately become conspicuous, who, like Metacomet, the Wampanoag, and Pontiac, the Ottawa, essayed to be the savior of his people from the crushing footsteps of the advancing white man. He was one of three sons born of a Creek mother (Methoataske) at the same time, in a cabin built of sapling logs unhewn, and chinked with sticks and mud, near the banks of the Mad River, a few miles from Springfield, Ohio. They were named respectively Tecumtha, Elkswatawa, and Kamskaka. Tecumtha 3 was the warrior alluded to. His name signifies, in the Shawnoese dialect, "a flying tiger," or "a wild-cat springing on its prey." He was a well-built man, about five feet ten inches in height. 4 Elkswatawa, "the loud voice," also became famous, or, more properly speaking, notorious; but Kamskaka lived a quiet, retired life, and died in ignoble obscurity.


As early as 1805, Elkswatawa, pretending to have had a vision, assumed to be a prophet, and took the name of Pemsquatawah, or "open door." Up to that period he had been remarkable for nothing but stupidity and intoxication. He was a cunning, unprincipled man, whose countenance was disfigured by the loss of an eye. 5 While lighting his pipe one day, he fell to the earth, as if dead. Preparations were made for his burial. When his friends were about to remove him, he opened his eyes and said, "Be not fearful. I have been in the Land of the Blessed. Call the nation together, that I may tell them what I have seen and heard." His people were speedily assembled, and again he spoke, saying, "Two beautiful young men were sent to me by the Great Spirit, who said, The Master of Life is angry with you all. He will destroy you unless you refrain from drunkenness, lying, stealing, and witchcraft, and turn your selves to him. Unless the red men shall do this, they shall never see the beautiful place you are now to behold." He was then taken to a gate which opened into the spirit land, but he was not permitted to enter. 6

Such was the prophet’s story. He immediately entered upon his mission as a professed preacher of righteousness. He inveighed against drunkenness and witchcraft, and warned his people to have nothing to do with the pale-faces, their religion, their customs, their arms, or their arts, for every imitation of the intruders was offensive to the great Master of Life. Tecumtha, possessed of a master mind and a Statesman’s sagacity, was the moving spirit in all this imposture. It was a part of his grand scheme for obtaining influence over the Northwestern tribes for political purposes, and he went from tribe to tribe publishing the wonders of his brother’s divine mission.

The Prophet’s harangues excited the latent superstition of the Indians to the highest degree, and for a while his sway over the minds of the savages in the Northwest was almost omnipotent. The chiefs and leading men of his own tribe denounced him, but the people sustained him. Success made him bold, and he used his newly-acquired power for the gratification of private and public resentments. He was accuser and judge, and he caused the execution of several hostile Delaware chiefs on a charge of witchcraft. A terrorism began to prevail all over the region where his divine mission was recognized. The credulous – men, women, and children – came long distances to see the oracle of the Great Spirit, who, they believed, wrought miracles. 7 Their numbers became legion, and the white settlers were alarmed.

Tecumtha’s deep scheme worked admirably. In the great congregation were leading men from all the surrounding tribes, even from the Upper Mississippi, and he had a rare opportunity to confer with them together on the subject of his darling project, a grand confederation of all the tribes in the Northwest to drive the white man across the Ohio, and reclaim their lands which they had lost by treaties. He declared to assembled warriors and sachems, whenever opportunity offered, that the treaties concerning those lands northward of the Ohio were fraudulent, and therefore void; and he always assured his auditors that he and his brother, the Prophet, would resent any farther attempts at settlement in that direction by the white people.

Governor Harrison perceived danger in these movements, and early in 1808 he addressed a speech to the chiefs and head men of the Shawnoese tribe, in which he denounced the Prophet as an impostor. "My children," he said, "this business must be stopped. I will no longer suffer it. You have called a number of men from the most distant tribes to listen to a fool, who speaks not the words of the Great Spirit, but those of the Evil Spirit and of the British agents. My children, your conduct has much alarmed the white settlers near you. They desire that you will send away those people; and if they wish to have the impostor with them they can carry him. Let him go to the Lakes; he can hear the British more distinctly."

This speech exasperated and alarmed the brothers. The Prophet and his followers, frowned upon by the Shawnoese in general, who listened to the governor, took up their abode in the spring of 1808 on the banks of the Wabash, near the mouth of the Tippecanoe River. Tecumtha was there too, when not on his political journeys among the neighboring tribes, but he was cautious and silent. The Prophet, more directly aimed at in Harrison’s speech, hastened to deny any complicity with the British agents, or having hostile designs. He visited Vincennes in August to confer in person with the governor, and to give him renewed and solemn assurances that he and his followers wished to live in harmony with the white people. So specious were the words of the wily savage, that Harrison suspected he had misjudged the man, and he dismissed the Prophet with friendly assurances.

The governor soon had reason to doubt the fidelity of the oracle. There were reported movements at the Prophet’s town on the Wabash, half religious and half warlike, that made him suspect the brothers of unfriendly designs toward the Americans. He charged them with having made secret arrangements with British agents for hostile purposes, and pressed the matter so closely that, at a conference between the governor and the Prophet at Vincennes in the summer of 1809, the latter acknowledged that he had received invitations from the British in Canada to engage in a war with the United States, but declared that he had rejected them. He renewed his vows of friendship, but Harrison no longer believed him to be sincere.

Soon after this interview Harrison concluded a treaty at Fort Wayne [September 30, 1809.] with Delaware, Pottawatomie, Miami, Kickapoo, Wea, and Eel River Indians, by which, in consideration of $8200 paid down, and annuities to the amount of $2350 in the aggregate, he obtained a cession of nearly three millions of acres of land extending up the Wabash beyond Terre Haute, and including the middle waters of the White River. 8 Neither Tecumtha, nor his brother, nor any of their tribe had any claim to these lands, yet they denounced those who sold them, declared the treaty void, and threatened to kill every chief concerned in it. Tecumtha grew bolder and bolder, for he was sanguine of success in his great scheme of a confederation, and the arrest of the white man’s progress. He had already announced the doctrine, opposed to state or tribal rights, that the domain of all the Indians belonged to all in common, and that no part of the territory could be sold or alienated without the consent of all. This was the ground of the denunciations of the treaty by Tecumtha and his brother, and the justification of their threats against the offending chiefs – threats the more alarming, because the warlike Wyandots, on the southern shores of Lake Erie, whom all the tribes so feared and respected that they called them uncles, had lately become the allies of these Shawanoese brothers.


In the spring of 1810 the Indians at the Prophet’s town gave unmistakable signs of hostility. They refused to receive the "annuity salt," and insulted the boatmen who took it to them by calling them "American dogs." These and other indications of hostility caused Harrison to send frequent messengers to the Prophet and his brother. Finally, in July, he sent a letter to them by Joseph Barron, a Frenchman, known to and respected by all the Indian tribes in that region as a faithful and kindhearted interpreter. He was instructed to invite the brothers to meet the governor in council at Vincennes, and lay their alleged grievances before him. Barron was received by the Prophet in a most unfriendly spirit. The oracle was surrounded by several Indians, and when the interpreter was formally presented his single eye kindled and gleamed with fiercest anger. Gazing upon the visitor intently for several minutes without speaking, he suddenly exclaimed, "For what purpose do you come here? Brouillette was here; he was a spy. Dubois was here; he was a spy. Now you have come. You, too, are a spy." Then, pointing to the ground, he said, vehemently, "There is your grave, look on it!" At that moment Tecumtha appeared, assured Barron of his personal safety, heard the letter of Governor Harrison, and promised to visit Vincennes in the course of a few days. 9

On the morning of the 12th of August Tecumtha appeared at Vincennes, He had been requested to bring not more than thirty warriors with him; he came with four hundred fully armed, and encamped in a grove on the outskirts of the town. The inhabitants, most of whom were unarmed, were startled by this unexpected demonstration of savage strength, and, partly on account of their fears, and partly because of the fame of Tecumtha as an orator, they flocked to the governor’s house. Seats had been prepared for those who were to participate in the council under the portico of the governor’s residence; but when Tecumtha, after placing the great body of his warriors in camp in the shade of a grove near by, advanced with about thirty of his followers, he refused to enter the area with the white people, saying, "Houses were built for you to hold councils in; Indians hold theirs in the open air." He then took a position under some trees in front of the house, and, unabashed by the large concourse of people before him, opened the business with a speech marked by great dignity and native eloquence. When he had concluded, one of the governor’s aids, through Barron the interpreter, said to the chief pointing to a chair, "Your father requests you to take a seat by his side." The chief drew his mantle around him, and, standing erect, said, with scornful tone, "My father! The sun is my father, and the earth is my mother; on her bosom I will repose," and then seated himself upon the ground.

Tecumtha’s speeches at this council were bold, arrogant, and sometimes insolent. He avowed the intention of himself and brother to establish, by a confederacy of the tribes, the principle of common interest in the domain as intended by the Great Spirit, and to not only prevent any other sale or cession of lands, but to recover what had been lately ceded by the treaty at Fort Wayne. He declared his intention to kill all the "village chiefs" who had made the sale if the lands were not returned, because he was authorized, he said, by all the tribes to do so. "Return those lands," he said, "and Tecumtha will be the friend of the Americans. He likes not the English, who are continually setting the Indians on the Americans." 10

Governor Harrison, in his reply, ridiculed the idea that the Great Spirit had intended the Indians to be one people. "If such had been his intention," he said, "he would not have put six different tongues into their heads, but would have taught them all to speak one language." As to the lands in dispute, the Shawnoese had nothing to do with it. The Miamis owned it when the Shawnoese were living in Georgia, out of which they had been driven by the Creeks. The lands had been purchased from the Miamis, who were the true owners of it, and it was none of the Shawnoese’s business. When these asseverations were interpreted, Tecumtha’s eyes flashed with anger. He cast off his blanket, and, with violent gesticulations, pronounced the governor’s words to be false. He accused the United States of cheating and imposing upon the Indians, His warriors, receiving a sign from him, sprang to their feet, seized their war-clubs, and began to brandish their tomahawks. The governor started from his chair and drew his sword, while the citizens seized any missile in their way. It was a moment of imminent danger. A military guard of twelve men, who were under some trees a short distance off, were ordered up. A friendly Indian cocked his pistol, which he had loaded stealthily while Tecumtha was speaking, and Mr. Winans, a Methodist minister, ran to the governor’s house, seized a gun, and placed himself in the door to defend the family. The guard were about to fire, when Harrison, perfectly collected, restrained them, and a bloody encounter was prevented. When the interpreter told him the cause of the excitement, he pronounced Tecumtha a bad man, and ordered him to leave the neighborhood immediately. Tecumtha retired to his camp, the council was broken up [August 20, 1810.], and no sleep came to the eyelids of the people of Vincennes that night, as they expected an attack from the savages.

On the following morning, Tecumtha, with seeming sincerity, expressed his regret because of the violence into which he had been betrayed. He found in Harrison a man not to be awed by menaces nor swayed by turbulence. With respectful words he asked to have the council resumed. The governor consented, and then placed two companies of well-armed militia in the village, for the protection and encouragement of the inhabitants. Tecumtha, always dignified, laid aside his insolent manner, and publicly disavowed any intention of attacking the governor and his friends on the preceding day. When asked whether he intended to persist in his opposition to the late treaty, he replied firmly that he should "adhere to the old boundary." Chiefs from five different tribes immediately arose, and declared their intention to support Tecumtha in the stand he had taken, and their determination to establish the proposed confederacy.

Harrison well knew the great ability and influence of Tecumtha, and was very anxious to conciliate him. On the following day, accompanied only by Mr. Barron, he visited the warrior in his camp, and had a long and friendly interview with him. He told Tecumtha that his principles and his claims would not be allowed by the President of the United States, and advised him to relinquish them. "Well," said the warrior, "as the Great Chief is to determine the matter, I hope the Great Spirit will put sense enough into his head to induce him to direct you to give up this land. It is true, he is so far off he will not be injured by the war. He may sit still in his town and drink his wine, while you and I will have to fight it out." 11 The conference ended by the governor’s promising to lay the matter before the President.

War with the followers of Tecumtha and the Prophet now seemed probable, and Harrison commenced measures to meet it. A small detachment of United States troops, under Captain Cross, stationed at Newport, Kentucky, were ordered to Vincennes, there to join three companies of militia infantry and a company of Knox County dragoons, in the event of an attack from the savages. The governor had paid particular attention to drilling the militia, and now, when their services were likely to be needed, they felt much confidence on account of their discipline.

The Indians on the Wabash, grown bold by the teachings of their great military leader, the oracular revelations of the Prophet, and the active encouragement of the British in Canada, began to roam in small marauding parties over the Wabash region in the spring of 1811, plundering the houses of settlers and the wigwams of friendly Indians, stealing horses, and creating general alarm. Tecumtha was exceedingly active, at the same time, in efforts to perfect his confederacy and inciting the tribes to war; and, early in the summer, the movements of the Indians were so menacing that Governor Harrison sent Captain Walter Wilson, accompanied by Mr. Barron, with an energetic letter to the Shawnoe brothers [June 24, 1811.]. He assured them that he was fully prepared to encounter all the tribes combined, and that if they did not put a stop to the outrages complained of, and cease their warlike movements, he should attack them.

Tecumtha was alarmed. He received the messengers very courteously, and promised to see the governor in person very soon, when he would convince him that he had no desire to make war upon the Americans. He accordingly appeared at Vincennes on the 27th of July, accompanied by about three hundred Indians, twenty of them women. The inhabitants were alarmed. It was believed that the wily savage had intended, with these warriors at hand, to compel the governor to give up the Wabash lands. But when, on the day of his arrival, he saw seven hundred and fifty well-armed militia reviewed by the governor, he exhibited no haughtiness of tone and manner. He was evidently uneasy. He made the most solemn protestations of his friendly intentions and desires to restrain the Indians from hostilities, yet he earnestly but modestly insisted upon a return of the lands ceded by the treaty at Fort Wayne. His duplicity was perfect. He left Vincennes a few days afterward with twenty warriors, went down the Wabash, and, as was afterward ascertained, visited the Southern Indians – Creeks, Choctaws, and Chickasaws – and endeavored to bring them into his league against the white people. The remainder of his followers from the Prophet’s town, astonished at the military display at Vincennes, returned to their rendezvous on the Tippecanoe, filled with doubt and alarm.

The government had suggested to Harrison the propriety of seizing Tecumtha and the Prophet, and holding them as hostages for the good behavior of their followers. The governor, in turn, suggested, as a better method of obtaining peace and security, an increase of the military resources of the Territory, and the establishment of a military post high up the Wabash toward the Prophet’s town. The wisdom of this suggestion was conceded. The Fourth Regiment of United States Infantry, under Colonel John P. Boyd, 12 was ordered from Pittsburg to the Falls of the Ohio, now Louisville; and Governor Harrison was authorized [July 17, 1811.] to employ these troops and call out the militia of the Territory for the purpose of attacking the hostile savages on the Tippecanoe, if he should deem it advisable. This authorization gave the inhabitants about Vincennes great relief. They had already, before the arrival of the order, appointed a committee at a public meeting [July 31.] to ask the government to direct the dispersion of the hostile bands at the Prophet’s town. 13

The government was anxious to preserve peace with the Indians, and Harrison’s orders gave him very little discretionary powers in the matter of levying war upon the savages. They were sufficient for his purpose. He determined to push forward, build a fort on the Wabash, make peaceful overtures, and if they were rejected, open war vigorously. He called Colonel Boyd to Vincennes with his detachment, consisting of a part of the Fourth Regiment and some riflemen, and asked for volunteers. The response was quick and ample. Revenge because of wrongs suffered at the hands of the Indians north of the Ohio slumbered in many bosoms, especially in Kentucky; and when the voice of the popular Harrison called for aid, it was like the sound of the trumpet. Old Indian warriors in Kentucky like General Samuel Wells and Colonel Owen instantly obeyed. They hastened to the field, accompanied by the eloquent Kentucky lawyer, Joseph Hamilton Daviess, Colonel Frederick Geiger, Captain Peter Funk 14 at the head of a company of cavalry, and Croghan, O’Fallon, Shipp, Chum, Edwards, and other subalterns, who had been mustered by Geiger near Louisville. All of these have praisers for bravery in the annals of their country.

On the 26th of September Governor Harrison left Fort Knox, 15 at Vincennes, with about nine hundred effective men, marched up the Wabash Valley, and on the 3d of October halted on the eastern bank of the river, about two miles above an old Wea village, where the town of Terre Haute, Indiana, now stands. It was a spot famous in Indian tradition as the scene of a desperate battle, at some time far in the past, between tribes of the Illinois and Iroquois. On this account the old French settlers had named the spot "Battaille des Illinois." There they immediately commenced the erection of a quadrangular stockaded fort, with a block-house at three of the angles; and there the governor received deputations from friendly Delaware and Miami Indians, who assured him that the hostility and strength of the Prophet was increasing. In war-speeches to them he had declared that the hatchet was lifted up against the Americans; and this information was affirmed on the night of the 10th of October, when some prowling Shawnoese, who had come down the Wabash, wounded one of the sentinels. Harrison sent a deputation of Miamis to the Prophet’s town with a message to the impostor, requiring the Indians on the Tippecanoe to disperse immediately to their respective tribes. It also required the Prophet to restore all the stolen horses in his possession, and surrender the men who had murdered white people on the Indiana and Illinois frontiers. The messengers never returned with an answer.

The fort was completed on the 28th of October. It was built upon a bluff thirty or forty feet above the Wabash, and covered about an acre of ground. On the day of its completion it was named, by the unanimous request of the officers present, FORT HARRISON, in honor of the governor. Colonel Daviess made a speech on the occasion. Standing over the gate, and holding a bottle of whisky in his hand, he said, in conclusion, "In the name of the United States, and by the authority of the same, I christen this Fort Harrison." He then broke the bottle over the gate, when a whisky-loving soldier, standing near, exclaimed, with the usual expletive, "It is too bad to waste whisky in that way – water would have done just as well." Less than a year afterward that little fort became the theatre of heroic exploits under Captain Zachary Taylor, which we shall consider hereafter.

I visited Terre Haute and the site of Fort Harrison late in September 1860 [September 26.]. I had spent the previous day at Fort Wayne, in visiting and sketching the grave of Little Turtle, the great Miami chief; and other places of interest about that historic city. A storm had just ended, and the sky was still murky when we left, at two in the afternoon, for Indianapolis. We arrived at Peru, a little village on the Wabash fifty-six miles west of Fort Wayne, at sunset. The dull clouds had lifted the space of a degree from the horizon, and allowed the last rays of the sun to give glory to the thoroughly saturated country for a few minutes, before the luminary disappeared behind the forests that skirted a wide prairie on the west.

At Peru, a railway leading southward to the capital of Indiana connects with the Toledo and Wabash Road, over which we had traveled. But there was no evening connection, and we were compelled to remain among the Peruvians until morning. Theirs is a small village. Town and taverns were filled with people, drawn thither by the two-fold attraction of a county fair and a desire to go to Indianapolis in the morning, where the late Judge Douglas, one of the candidates for the Presidency of the United States, was to speak. I found a crowd of railway passengers around the register of the inn where I stopped, all anxious to secure good lodgings for the night. The applicants were many, and the beds proportionately few. I was fortunate enough to have for my room-companion for the night, Judge Davis, of Bloomington, Illinois, a gentleman of great weight in the West, and an ardent personal friend of the late President Lincoln. He declared that, if his friend should be elected, he would be found to be "the right man in the right place." Judge Davis is now (1867) one of the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Having half an hour to spare before supper and the approaching darkness, I strolled around the village, that lies upon a rolling plain and along the banks of the beautiful Wabash – beautiful, indeed, because of variety in outline, greenness of verdure, and its fringes of graceful trees and shrubbery. Many of the trees were more ancient than the dominion of the white man there, and others were as young as the town near by, so lately sprung up from the shadows of the wilderness. A canal, with muddy banks, dug along the margin of the river, somewhat marred the beauty of the scene. It was quite dark when I retired to the inn, having called on the way at the house of Mr. Grigg, whose wife is a daughter of the Little Turtle. They were absent, and I missed the anticipated pleasure of an interview with one whose father bore such a conspicuous part in the history of the Northwest.

I left Peru, in company with Judge Davis, at six o’clock the following morning, and reached Indianapolis at ten. It was a sunny day. The town was rapidly filling with people pouring in by railways and common roads from all directions. Flags were flying, drums were beating, marshals were hurrying to and fro, and the crowds were flowing toward the "Bates House," the common centre of attraction, where Judge Douglas was receiving his friends in a private parlor, and waiting for the appointed hour when he should go out and speak to the people on the political topics of the day. Over the broad street a splendid triumphal arch was thrown, and every avenue to the hotel was densely thronged with eager expectants. I made my way through the living sea, and registered my name for dinner at the "Bates," expecting to leave for Terre Haute at evening. After spending an hour with Mr. Dillon, author of the latest history of Indiana, I was informed that a train would leave for the West at meridian. So I again elbowed my way through the crowd just as Judge Douglas was entering his carriage, and, with the shouts of twenty thousand voices ringing in my ears, I escaped to the empty streets, and reached the railway station just in time for the midday train. I was soon reminded that I had involuntarily made a liberal contribution to some light-fingered follower of the itinerant candidate for the crown of civic victory. I had been relieved of the present care of that subtle magician thus apostrophized by Byron:

"Thou more than stone of the philosopher!
Thou touchstone of Philosophy herself!
Thou bright eye of the mine! thou loadstar of
The soul! thou true magnetic pole, to which
All hearts point duly north, like trembling needles

Terre Haute (high land) is seventy-three miles westward of Indianapolis. It is a pleasant village, and the capital of Vigo County. It then contained less than two thousand inhabitants. It is on a high plain on the left bank of the Wabash, and is one of the most delightful summer residences in all that region. We arrived there at four o’clock in the afternoon. Hoping to visit the site of Fort Harrison that evening, so as to leave in the morning, I immediately sought a gentleman in the village to whom I had a letter of introduction. The town was almost depopulated by the attractions of a county fair in its neighborhood. The afternoon was so pleasant that men, women, and children had all gone to the exhibition, and not a vehicle of any kind could be found to convey me to the fort, over two miles distant. After wasting more than an hour in fruitless attempts to procure one, I fell back on my unfailing reserve, and started off on foot. It was twilight when I reached the spot – twilight too dim to make a sketch of the locality. The old sycamore and elm trees that were there in their early maturity when the fort was built yet stand along the bank between the canal and the ruin, and on the western shore of the Wabash opposite may still be seen the fine old timber upon the low and frequently-overflowed bottom; but nothing of the fort remained excepting the logs of one of the block-houses, which then (1860) formed the dwelling of Cornelius Smock within the area of the old stockade. I had the good-fortune to meet an old man (in my haste I forgot to inquire his name), when near the site of the fort, who was there in 1813, soon after Captain Taylor’s defense of it.


He pointed out the exact locality, and gave me such a minute description of the structure, that I made a rough outline of it on the spot, a finished copy of which is seen in the picture. He pronounced it perfect according to his recollection. Its truthfulness was confirmed on my return to the Terre Haute House by a picture, made in like manner a few years ago from the recollections of old people, and lithographed. 16 It was placed in my hands by Mr. Ralston, of the gas-works; and I was surprised to find such a perfect agreement, even in detail. I have no doubt the engraving here given is a truthful representation of Fort Harrison and its surroundings in 1813.

I left Terre Haute for Crawfordsville, Indiana, at three o’clock in the morning [September 27, 1860.], checking my luggage (as I thought) to the Junction near Greencastle, the capital of Putnam County, where the Louisville, New Albany, and Chicago Railway crosses that of the Terre Haute and Richmond. By mistake my trunk was checked for Philadelphia, and was not left at the Junction. I found the telegraph operator in his bed half a mile from the station, but he could not send a message with effect before seven o’clock, at which time my luggage would be beyond Indianapolis, making its way toward Philadelphia at the rate of twenty-five miles an hour. The winged electricity was more fleet than the harnessed steam. It headed the fugitive at Richmond, a hundred miles distant, and at two o’clock in the afternoon it was brought back a prisoner to Greencastle Station, much to my relief. I think I never saw so much beauty in an old black leather trunk before nor since. Meanwhile I had pretty thoroughly explored Greencastle, chiefly before daylight, when trying to find my way back to the station from the telegraphist’s lodgings. Every street appeared to end at a vacant lot. At length, just at dawn, I received directions from an Irishman, with an axe on his shoulder, more explicit than clear. "Is it the dapo’ you want?" he inquired. "Yes." "Will, thin," he said, "jist turn down to the lift of the Prisbytarian Church that’s not finished, and go by the way of the church that is finished; turn right and lift as many times as ye plaze, and bedad ye’ll be there." Perfectly satisfied I walked on, found the station by accident, waited patiently for the telegraphist, and then went to the village, half a mile distant, to breakfast.

Greencastle is pleasantly situated upon a high table-land, sloping every way, about a mile east of the Walnut Fork of the Eel Run, and then contained between two thousand and three thousand inhabitants. I remained there until three o’clock in the afternoon, when I left for Crawfordsville, twenty-eight miles northward, where I met my family and remained a few days, the guest of the Honorable (afterward Major General) Lewis Wallace, the gallant commander first of the celebrated Eleventh Indiana Regiment in Western Virginia, and afterward of loyal brigades and divisions in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Northern Mississippi, in the late Civil War. 17

There I met the Honorable Isaac Naylor, who was with Harrison at the battle of Tippecanoe. He had been a resident of Crawfordsville since 1833, and for fifteen years was Judge of the Circuit Court. From him I obtained much valuable information concerning the incidents of the battle of Tippecanoe and the preceding march of the army from Vincennes. 18

I also visited, at Crawfordsville, the late venerable Major Ambrose Whitlock, one of the last survivors of General Wayne’s army in the Northwest. He was first under the immediate command of Hamtramck, and afterward served as aid to Wayne, and became lieutenant in the company of which Harrison was captain. Major Whitlock was the founder of Crawfordsville. He was at the head of the Land-office in Indiana, as receiver of the public moneys of the United States, for eight years. William H. Crawford, Monroe’s Secretary of the Treasury, appointed him to that station. The office was at Terre Haute. It was finally determined to establish an office in another part of the Territory for the convenience of the settlers, and the selection of the locality was left to the judgment of Major Whitlock. He found in the wilderness near Sugar Creek, in a thickly-wooded dell, a spring of excellent water, and resolved to establish the new Land-office near that desirable fountain. Settlers came. He laid out a village, and named it Crawfordsville, in honor of his friend of the Treasury Department. He resided there ever afterward. His house was upon a gentle eminence eastward of the railway, and the wooded dell and the ever-flowing spring of sweet water formed a part of his premises on the eastern borders of the village. Major Whitlock 19 was ninety-one years of age at the time of my visit, yet his mental faculties were quite vigorous. Unlike many soldiers of the past, a large portion of his life was blessed with an affluence of health and fortune.

On the evening of a sultry day, the last one of September, we left Crawfordsville for Lafayette, Indiana, twenty-eight miles northward, with the intention of visiting the Tippecanoe battle-ground the next morning. The country through which we passed for the first few miles was hilly, and heavily timbered, and the foliage was beginning to assume the gorgeous hues of autumn. It was the first evidence we had seen of the actual departure of summer, for nearly all September had been more like August in temperature, than itself. We soon reached a small prairie, the first we had seen, and at eight o’clock arrived at Lafayette. The town, containing full ten thousand inhabitants, was all alive with political excitement, the "Douglas Democrats" and the "Republicans" 20 both holding public meetings there. The former, convened at a hotel, was addressed by Herschel V. Johnson, of Georgia, the "Douglas" candidate for the Vice-Presidency of the United States; the latter, held in the court-house, was addressed by Mr. Howard, member of Congress from Michigan, whom I had met a few days before at the table of Senator Lane, of Crawfordsville. Torch-light processions of the "Wide-awakes" and the "Little Giants" 21 followed the speeches; and as they marched and countermarched in the same streets at the same time, they became so entangled to the eye of the spectator that it was difficult for a partisan to recognize his own political representative in the moving illumination. This was followed by drum-beatings and huzzas, which were kept up until midnight.

At Lafayette I met Mr. George Winter, an English artist who has resided many years in Indiana, and had the pleasure of inspecting his fine collection of Indian portraits and scenes painted by him from nature. His collection possesses much historical and ethnological value, and ought to be in the possession of some institution where it might be preserved and the individuals never separated. He was intimately acquainted with many of the characters whose features he has delineated, and he has collected stores of anecdotes and traditions of the aboriginals of the Northwest. The memory of Mr. Winter’s kind attentions while we were in Lafayette is very pleasant.

The first day of October dawned brightly, and the temperature of the air was like that of early June. Before sunrise we visited the artesian well of sulphur-water in the public square, the result of a deep search for pure water. A neat pavilion covers it; cups are furnished for the thirsty, and not far off are baths of it for invalids and others.

At an early hour we departed for the battle-ground of Tippecanoe, seven miles northward. We passed over a level and pleasant country most of the way, crossing the railway several times. Within three miles of the battle-ground we crossed the Wabash on a cable-bateau, 22 and watched with interest the perilous fording of the stream just above, near the railway bridge, by a man and woman in a light wagon. Twice they came near being submerged in deep channels, but finally reached the shore with only wet feet. The man saved the ferriage fee of twelve cents.

We arrived at the Battle-ground House at ten o’clock, passing the scene of the conflict just before reaching it. Resting in the cool shadows of the stately trees that still cover the spot, let us turn to the chronicle of the Past amid study the events which have made this gentle elevation, overlooking a "wet prairie," classic ground.

Fort Harrison, as we have seen, was completed on the 28th of October. It was garrisoned by a small detachment under Lieutenant-colonel Miller – the "I’ll try, sir!" hero of the battle of Niagara, three years later. The main body of the army moved forward the next day [October 28, 1811.], and on the 31st, soon after passing the Big Raccoon Creek, crossed to the western side of the Wabash, near the site of the present village of Montezuma, in Parke County. 23 There the troops were joined by some of the Kentucky volunteers, under Wells, Owen, and Geiger. 24

Harrison was commander-in-chief by virtue of his office as governor of the Territory, and Boyd was his next in command. The whole force consisted of nine hundred and ten men, and was composed of two hundred and fifty regulars under Boyd, sixty volunteers from Kentucky, and six hundred Indiana militia. The mounted men, consisting of dragoons and riflemen, amounted to about two hundred and seventy. The command of the dragoons was given to Colonel Daviess, and of the riflemen to General Wells, both having the relative rank of major.

The army was near the Vermilion River on the 2d of November, and there, on the western bank of the Wabash, built a block-house twenty-five feet square, in which eight men were placed, to protect the boats employed in bringing up provisions for the army. On the following day [November 3, 1811.] the army moved forward, and on the 5th encamped within eleven miles of the Prophet’s town. Harrison had been careful, on the preceding day, to avoid the dangerous passes of Pine Creek, whose banks, for fifteen or twenty miles from its mouth, were immense cliffs of rock, where a few men might dispute the passage of large numbers. 25

From their encampment on the 5th, looking northward, stretched an immense prairie, extending far beyond the limits of vision. It reached to the Illinois at Chicago, the guides asserted. It filled the troops, who had never been on the northwest side of the Wabash, with the greatest astonishment; but their attention was soon drawn from the contemplation of nature to watchfulness against the wiles of their own species. Until now they had seen no Indians, though often discovering their trails. On the following day [November 6.] when within five or six miles of the Prophet’s town, they were seen hovering around the army on every side. The approach of the troops had become known to the Prophet, and his scouts, numerous and sagacious, watched every step of the invaders. Great caution was now necessary, and the same order of march which Harrison, as Wayne’s aid, had planned for that general in 1794, 26 he now adopted. The infantry marched in two columns on both sides of the path, and the dragoons and mounted riflemen in front, rear, and on the flanks. To facilitate the march, and keep the troops in position for a quick and precise formation into battle order in the event of an ambuscade, they were broken into short columns of companies. They had now left the open prairie, and were marching most of the time through open woods, the ground furrowed by ravines. Parties of Indians were continually making their appearance, and Barron and other interpreters tried, but in vain, to speak to their leaders. Finally, when within a mile and a half of the Prophet’s town, Toussaint Dubois, of Vincennes, offered to take a message to the mongrel warrior-pontiff. The menaces of the savages were so alarming that he soon turned back, and the army pressed forward toward the Tippecanoe.

The alarmed savages now asked for a parley. It was granted. They assured Harrison that the Prophet had sent back a friendly message by the Delaware and Miami couriers, but that they had gone down the eastern bank, and missed him on his march. They were surprised at his coming so soon, and hoped he would not disturb and frighten their women and children by occupying their town. Harrison assured them that he was ready to have a friendly talk with them, and desired a good place for an encampment. They pointed to a suitable spot back from the Wabash, on the borders of a creek less than a mile northwest from the Prophet’s town. Two officers (Majors Taylor and Clarke) were sent with Quarter-master Piatt to examine it, They reported that the situation was excellent. Harrison then parted with the chiefs who had come out to meet him, after an interchange of promises that no hostilities should be commenced until an interview should be held the following day. "I found the ground destined for the encampment," Harrison wrote, "not altogether such as I could wish it. It was, indeed, admirably calculated for the encampment of regular troops that were opposed to regulars, but it afforded great facility to the approach of savages. It was a piece of dry oak land, rising about ten feet above the level of a marshy prairie in front (toward the Prophet’s town), and nearly twice that height above a similar prairie in the rear, through which, and near to this bank, ran a small stream clothed with willows and other brushwood. Toward the left flank this bench of land widened considerably, but became gradually narrower in the opposite direction, and at the distance of one hundred and fifty yards from the right flank terminated in an abrupt point." 27 No doubt the wily savages recommended this position that they might employ their peculiar mode of warfare advantageously.


The above is a good description of the locality as it appeared when I visited it in the autumn of 1860. It was still covered with the same oaks; on "the front," toward Wabash and Tippecanoe Creek, stretched the same "wet" or frequently overflowed prairie; in "the rear" was the same higher bank, and prairie, and Burnet’s Creek; and at the "abrupt point" the Louisville, New Albany, and Chicago Railway strikes the "bench of land," and runs parallel with the common wagon-road along the bank overlooking the "wet prairie." In the annexed sketch, taken from "the abrupt point," looking northeast over the camp-ground, is seen the southern portion of the inclosure of the battle-field, near which Spencer’s riflemen were posted, indicated on the plan of the encampment on page 205. The horseman denotes the direction of the wet prairie toward the Prophet’s town, and the steep bank seen on the left of the picture has Burnet’s Creek flowing at its base, and was still "clothed with willows," shrubbery, and vines.

Harrison arranged his camp with care on the afternoon of the 6th of November, in the form of an irregular parallelogram, on account of the slope of the ground. On the front was a battalion of United States infantry, under Major George Rogers Clarke Floyd, 28 flanked on the left by one company, and on the right by two companies of Indiana militia, under Colonel Joseph Bartholomew. 29 In the rear was a battalion of United States infantry, under Captain William C. Baen, 30 acting as major, with Captain Robert C. Barton, 31 of the regulars, in immediate command. These were supported on the right by four companies of Indiana militia, led respectively by Captains Josiah Snelling, Jr., 32 John Posey, Thomas Scott, and Jacob Warrick, the whole commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Luke Decker. The right flank, eighty yards wide, was filled with mounted riflemen, under Captain Spear Spencer. The left, about one hundred and fifty yards in extent, was composed of mounted riflemen, under Major General Samuel Wells, 33 commanding as major, and led by Colonels Frederick Geiger 34 and David Robb, as captains. Two troops of dragoons, under Colonel Joseph H. Daviess, acting as major, were stationed in the rear of the front line near the left flank; and at a right angle with these companies, in the rear of the left flank, was a troop of cavalry as a reserve, under Captain Benjamin Parke. 35 Wagons, baggage, officers’ tents, etc., were in the centre.

Having completed the arrangement of his camp and supped, Harrison summoned the field-officers to his tent by a signal, and gave them instructions. He ordered that each corps that formed the exterior line of the camp should hold its ground, in case of an attack, until relieved. In the event of a night attack, the cavalry were to parade dismounted, with their pistols in their belts, and act as a corps de reserve. Two captains’ guards, of forty-two privates each, and two subalterns’, of twenty each, were detailed to defend the camp. The whole were commanded by the field-officer of the day. Thus prepared, the whole camp, except the sentinels and guards, were soon soundly sleeping. There was a slight drizzle of rain at intervals, and the darkness was intense, except occasionally when the clouds parted and faint moonlight came through.

Quite different was the condition of affairs in the Indian camp. There was no sleep there. Both parties had agreed to parley before fighting, and there should have been no excitement; but the dusky foe of the white man had no respect for truces. The unprincipled Prophet, surrounded by his dupes, prepared for treachery and murder as soon as the curtain of night had fallen upon the land. 36 He brought out the Magic Bowl. In one hand he held the sacred torch, or "Medean fire," in the other a string of beans which he called holy, and were accounted to be miraculous in their effect when touched. His followers were all required to touch this talisman and be made invulnerable, and then to take an oath to exterminate the pale-faces. When this was accomplished, the Prophet went through a long series of incantations and mystical movements; then turning to his highly-excited band, about seven hundred in number, he told them that the time to attack the white men had come. "They are in your power," he said, holding up the holy beans as a reminder of their oath. "They sleep now, and will never awake. The Great Spirit will give light to us, and darkness to the white men. Their bullets shall not harm us; your weapons shall be always fatal." Then followed war-songs and dances, until the Indians, wrought up to a perfect frenzy, rushed forth to attack Harrison’s camp without any leaders. Stealthily they crept through the long grass of the prairie in the deep gloom, intending to surround their enemy’s position, kill the sentinels, rush into the camp, and massacre all. 37

Harrison was in the habit of rising at four o’clock in the morning, calling his troops to arms, and keeping them so until broad daylight. On the morning of the 7th of November he was just pulling on his boots at the usual hour, when a single gun was fired by a sentinel at the northwest angle of the camp, near the bank of Burnet’s Creek. This was instantly followed by the horrid yells of numerous savages in that quarter, who opened a murderous fire upon the companies of Baen and Geiger that formed that angle. The foe had been creeping up stealthily to tomahawk the sentinels, but the sharp eyes of one of them had detected the moving savage in the gloom, and fired upon him with fatal effect. 38 Their assault was furious, and in their frenzy several Indians penetrated through the lines, but never to return.

The whole camp was soon awakened by demon yells and a cry to arms, and the officers, with all possible speed and precision, in the faint light of smouldering fires, placed their men in battle order. These fires were then extinguished, for they were more useful to the assailants than to the assailed. Nineteen twentieths of the troops had never been in battle, yet, considering the alarming circumstances of the attack, their conduct was cool and gallant, and very little noise or confusion followed such a sudden awaking from sleep and call to defend life. The most of them were in line before they were fired upon, but some were compelled to fight defensively at the doors of their tents.

Harrison called for his horse – a fine white charger – but in affright the animal had pulled up the stake that held his tether, and could not be found. The governor immediately mounted a fine bay horse that stood snorting near, and with his aid, Colonel Owen, hastened to the angle of the camp where the attack was first made. 39 He found that Barton’s company had suffered severely, and the left of Geiger’s was entirely broken. He immediately ordered Cook’s company and that of the late Captain Wentworth, under Lieutenant Peters, to be brought up from the centre of the rear line, where the ground was much more defensible, and form across the angle in support of Barton and Geiger. At that moment the governor’s attention was directed to firing at the northeast angle of the camp, where a small company of United States riflemen, armed with muskets, and the companies of Baen, Snelling, and Prescott, of the Fourth Regiment, were stationed. There he found Major Daviess forming the dragoons in the rear of those companies. Observing heavy firing from some trees about twenty paces in front of them, he directed the major to dislodge them with a part of his dragoons. "Unfortunately," says Harrison in his dispatch to the Secretary of War, "the major’s gallantry determined him to execute the order with a smaller force than was sufficient, which enabled the enemy to avoid him in front and attack him on his flanks. The major was mortally wounded, 40 and his party driven back." 41 Harrison immediately promoted Captain Parke to Daviess’s rank just as intelligence was brought to him that Captain Snelling, with his company of regulars, had driven the savages from their murderous position with heavy loss.

The battle now became more general. The Indians attacked the camp on the whole front and both flanks, and a portion of the rear line. They fell with great severity upon Spencer’s mounted riflemen on the right and the right section of Warrick’s company, which formed the southwest angle of the encampment. Spencer and his lieutenant were killed, and Warrick was mortally wounded, and yet their men gallantly maintained their position. They were speedily re-enforced by Robb’s riflemen, who had been driven or ordered by mistake from their position on the left flank toward the centre of the camp, and at the same time Prescott’s company of the Fourth Regiment was ordered to fill the space vacated by the riflemen, the grand object being to maintain the lines of the camp unbroken until daylight, when the assailed would be able to make a general charge upon a visible foe. To do this required great activity on the part of the commander. Harrison was constantly riding from point to point within the camp, and kept the assailed positions re-enforced. Finally, when the day dawned, he discovered the larger portion of the Indians to be on the two flanks. He accordingly strengthened these, and was about to order the cavalry, under Parke, to charge upon the foe on the left, when Major Wells, not understanding Harrison’s intentions, led the infantry to perform that duty. It was executed gallantly and effectually. The Indians were driven at the point of the bayonet, and the dragoons pursued them into the wet prairies on both sides of the ridge on which the battle was fought. The ground was too soft for the horsemen to pursue, and the savages escaped. Meanwhile the Indians had been charged and put to flight on the right flank, and had also taken refuge in the marshy ground, chiefly on the side of Burnet’s Creek, where they were sheltered from view. 42

Looking eastward from the site of the battle-ground over the "wet prairie" (now a fenced and cultivated plain) toward the Wabash, the visitor will see a range of very gentle hills, covered with woods. On one of these the Prophet stood while the battle was raging on that dark November morning, at a safe distance from danger, singing a war-song and performing some protracted religious mummeries. When told that his followers were falling before the bullets of the white men, he said, "Fight on, it will soon be as I told you." When at last the fugitive warriors of many tribes – Shawnoese, Wyandots, Kickapoos, Ottawas, Chippewas, Pottawatomies, Winnebagoes, Sacs, and a few Miamis – lost their faith, and covered the Prophet with reproaches, he cunningly told them that his predictions had failed because, during his incantations, his wife touched the sacred vessels and broke the charm! Even Indian superstition and credulity could not accept that transparent falsehood for an excuse, and the impostor was deserted by his disappointed followers, and compelled to take refuge with a small band of Wyandots on Wild-cat Creek. The foe had scattered in all directions into places where the white man could not well follow.

"Sound, sound the charge! spur, spur the steed,

And swift the fugitives pursue:
’Tis vain; rein in – your utmost speed
Could not o’ertake the recreant crew.
In lowland marsh, in dell or cave,
Each Indian sought his life to save;
Whence peering forth, with fear and ire,
He saw his Prophet’s town on fire."

When, on the day after the battle [November 8, 1811.], Harrison and his army advanced upon the Prophet’s town, they found it deserted. After getting all the copper kettles they could find, and as much beans and corn as they could carry away, they applied the torch, and the village and a large quantity of corn were speedily reduced to ashes. Six days afterward the army, bearing the wounded in twenty-two wagons, reached Fort Harrison on its return to Vincennes. Captain Snelling, with his company of regulars, was left to garrison the fort, and, on the 18th of the month, the remainder of the army, excepting some volunteers disbanded the day before, were at Fort Knox, in the capital of the Indiana Territory. The immediate result of the expedition was to scatter the Prophet’s warriors on the Wabash, frustrate the scheme of Tecumtha, and give temporary relief to the settlers in Indiana.

Tecumtha, who was really a great man (while the Prophet was a cunning demagogue and cheat – a tool in the hands of his brother), was absent among the Southern Indians when the battle of Tippecanoe occurred. He returned soon afterward, and found all his schemes frustrated by the folly of the Prophet. The sudden unpopularity of the impostor deprived him of a strong instrument in the construction of his confederacy, to which his life and labors had been long directed with the zeal of a true patriot. He saw his brightest visions dissipated in a moment. Mortified, vexed, and exasperated, and failing to obtain the acquiescence of Governor Harrison in his proposition to visit the President with a deputation of chiefs, he abandoned all thoughts of peace, and became a firm ally of the British. 43

In the battle of Tippecanoe Harrison lost, in killed and wounded, one hundred and eighty-eight. 44 It was a hard-fought and well-fought battle, and attested both the skill and bravery of Harrison. 45 The expediency and conduct of the campaign were topics for much discussion, and elicited not a little severity of censure from the opponents of the administration and of war. Harrison was a personal and political friend of President Madison, and this gave license to the opposition to make him a target for denunciatory volleys. His prudence, his patriotism, his military skill, his courage, were all brought in question; and some claimed the chaplet of fame for the victory gained, for the brow of Colonel Boyd. 46 But time, the great healer of dissensions, corrector of errors, and destroyer of party and personal animosities, has long since silenced the voice of detraction; and the verdict of his countrymen to-day, as they study the record dispassionately, is coincident with that of his soldiers at the time, and of the Kentucky Legislature shortly afterward, who, on motion of the late venerable member of Congress, John J. Crittenden, resolved, "That in the late campaign against the Indians on the Wabash, Governor W. H. Harrison has, in the opinion of this Legislature, behaved like a hero, a patriot, and a general; and that for his cool, deliberate, skillful, and gallant conduct in the late battle of Tippecanoe, he deserves the warmest thanks of the nation." History, art, and song 47 made that event the theme for pen, pencil, and voice; and when, thirty years afterward, the leader of the fray was a candidate for the Presidency of the United States, he was every where known by the familiar title of Old Tippecanoe. His partisans erected log-cabins in towns and cities, and in them sang in chorus,

"Hurrah for the father of all the green West,

For the Buckeye who follows the plow!
The foemen in terror his valor confessed,
And we’ll honor the conqueror now.
His country assailed in the darkest of days,
To her rescue impatient he flew;
The war-whoop’s fell blast, and the rifle’s red blaze,
But awakened Old Tippecanoe."


The battle-field of Tippecanoe has become classic ground. It belonged to the State of Indiana, and had been inclosed with a rude wooden fence for several years, which, we were told, was soon to give place to an iron one. The inclosure comprised seven acres. It was a beautiful spot. The ground, gently undulating, and sloping from Battle-ground City 48 (an infant in years and size), was still covered with the noble oaks. In the sketch here given, made when I visited it in October, 1860, the spectator is supposed to be standing just northward of the place where Major Wells’s line, on the left flank, was formed (see a plan of the camp on page 205), and looking southwest over the once wet prairie toward the Wabash. On the extreme left, in the distance, is seen the gentle eminence on which the Prophet stood during the battle, singing his war-songs. Farther to the right, near the row of posts, is a large tree with the top broken off. It marks the spot near which Daviess fell. There is only space enough between it and the verge of the prairie below for the common road and the railway.

We dined at the Battle-ground House, and departed for Chicago, one hundred and forty miles distant, at three o’clock in the afternoon. The journey was one of real pleasure. Soon after leaving, we entered a prairie, and traversed its dead level for seventy miles, passing some little villages on the way. It was rich with verdure and late prairie-flowers, and the broad expanse was dotted here and there in every direction, as far as the eye could comprehend, with clumps of tall trees and shrubbery, which appeared like islands in the midst of a vast green sea. Toward evening heavy black clouds gathered in the northwestern sky, and when we approached Michigan City that stands among the sand dunes at the head of Lake Michigan, just at sunset, we ran into a heavy thunder-shower that was sweeping around the majestic southern curve of that inland sea. Darkness soon came on, and as we approached Chicago, late in the evening, we encountered another shower. On lake and prairie the lightning descended in frequent streams, and the thunder roared fearfully above the din of the dashing railway train. But all was serene when we arrived at Chicago. The stars were beaming brightly, and a young moon was just dipping its horn below the great prairie on the west. It had been a day of exciting pleasure as well as fatigue, and the night at the Richmond House was one of sweet repose for us all.



1 "I do not believe," wrote General Harrison in 1805, "that there are more than six hundred warriors on the Wabash, and yet the quantity of whisky brought here annually for their consumption is said to amount to six thousand gallons."

2 Governor Harrison to the Secretary of War.

3 The late colonel John Johnston, of Dayton, Ohio, who was Indian Agent among the Shawnoese and neighboring tribes for many years, and knew Tecumtha well, informed me that the proper way to spell that warrior’s name, according to the native pronunciation, is as I have given it. On such authority I have adopted the orthography in the text. From Colonel Johnston, whose name will be frequently mentioned in the course of our narrative, I obtained much valuable information concerning the Indians of the Northwest from the year 1800 to 1812, during a visit with him in the autumn of 1860.

The birthplace of Tecumtha and his brothers was at the Piqua village, about five miles west from Springfield. * The engraving, copied by permission from Howe’s Historical Collections of Ohio, shows the place of his birth as it appeared a few years ago. It is on the north side of the Mad River. A small hamlet, called West Boston, now occupies the site of the Piqua village. The Indian fort at that place, consisting of a rude log hut surrounded by pickets, stood upon the hill seen on the left of the picture.

* This was ancient Piqua, the seat of the Piqua clan of the Shawnoese, a name which signifies "a man formed out of the ashes," and significant of their alleged origin. See Howe’s Historical Collections of Ohio, page 362. Modern Piqua, oftentimes confounded with that of the ancient one in speaking of Tecumtha, is a flourishing village on the Great Miami River, Miami County. Upper Piqua, three miles above the village, is a place of considerable historical interest. The reader is referred to Mr. Howe’s valuable work for interesting details concerning the events which made it famous.

4 Colonel Johnston.

5 The portrait of the Prophet is from a pencil sketch made by Pierre Le Dru, a young French trader, at Vincennes, in 1808. He made a sketch of Tecumtha at about the same time, both of which I found in possession of his son at Quebec in 1848, and by whom I was kindly permitted to copy them. That of Tecumtha will be found in Chapter XIV. Owing partly to his excessive dissipation, the Prophet appeared much the elder of Tecumtha.

6 Drake’s Book of the Indians, page 624.

7 The Prophet was without honor in his own country, and he left Piqua and settled in a village of his own at Greenville, in Ohio, where Wayne held his great treaty in 1795, on lands already ceded to the United States. At the instigation of Tecumtha, no doubt, he sent emissaries to the tribes on the Lakes and on the Upper Mississippi, to declare his prophecy that the earth was about to be destroyed, except in the immediate residence of the Prophet at Greenville. Alarm caused many to flock thither as a place of refuge, and this gave Tecumtha an opportunity to divulge with ease to a large number, his plans for a confederacy. The Prophet made many predictions concerning the future glory of the Indians. His disciples spread the most absurd tales about his wonderful power – that he could make pumpkins spring out of the ground as large as wigwams, and that his corn grew so large that one ear would feed a dozen men. They spread a belief that the body of the Prophet was invulnerable, and that he had all knowledge, past, present, and future. It is said that so great a number flocked to Greenville to see him, that the southern shores of Lakes Superior and Michigan were quite depopulated. The traders were obliged to abandon their business. Of these deluded fanatics not more than one third ever returned, having died in consequence of the privations of hunger, cold, and fatigue. They perished by scores upon their weary pilgrimage. - MS. Life and Times of Tecumseh, by Henry Onderdonk, Jr., 1842.

8 The Weas and Kickapoos were not represented at the council, but the former, in October, and the latter, in December, confirmed the treaty at Fort Wayne.

9 Statement of Mr. Barron, quoted by Dillon in his History of Indiana, page 441. Mr. Barron was a native of Detroit. He was employed by Harrison as interpreter about eighteen years. He was an uneducated man, of much natural ability, and very interesting in conversation. He was slender in form, about a medium height, had black eyes, sallow complexion, a prominent nose, small mouth, and wore his hair in a cue, à la aborigine, with a long black ribbon dangling down his back. He was a facetious, pleasant, social, and entertaining man, full of anecdotes and bon mots. He was fond of music, and played the Indian flutes with skill. Barron was acquainted with most of the Indian dialects east of the Mississippi. In 1837 he accompanied emigrating Pottawatomies to the West. He also accompanied another party of the same tribe in 1838 to their lands beyond the Mississippi. He afterward returned to the Wabash, and, after a protracted illness, died on the 31st of July, 1843, at an advanced age, at the residence of his son on the Wabash, near its confluence with the Eel River.


Mr. Barron was at the battle of Tippecanoe with Harrison, and this circumstance greatly exasperated the Indians against him. They were very anxious to capture and torture him. So important did they consider him, that they made rude sketches of his features on the barks of trees, and sent them among the various tribes, that they might know and catch him. One of these was for some time in possession of Mr. Compret, of Fort Wayne. It was carried to Germany by a Catholic priest as a great curiosity. Another, on a piece of beech bark, was preserved a long time at Fort Dearborn, and in 1836 was in possession of James Hertz, a private soldier at Mackinaw, from whom a friend procured it, and in the autumn of 1861 sent me a tracing of it. The sketch is a fac-simile on a reduced scale.

George Winter, Esq., an artist of Lafayette, Indiana, painted a portrait of Mr. Barron in 1837. He kindly furnished me the copy from which the above engraving was made; also with the Information concerning the famous interpreter contained in this note. Mr. Winter was the painter of the portrait of Frances Slocum, the lost child of Wyoming. – See Lossing’s Field-book of the Revolution, i., 369.

Brouillette and Dubois, mentioned above, with Francis Vigo, Pierre La Plante, John Conner, and William Prince, were influential men, and were frequently employed by Harrison as messengers to the Indians.

10 Onderdonk’s MS. Life of Tecumseh.

11 Dawson’s Life of Harrison, page 59; Drake’s Book of the North American Indians.

12 John Parke Boyd was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, December 21, 1764. His father was from Scotland, and his mother was a descendant of Tristam Coffin, the first of that family who emigrated to America. He entered the army in 1786, as ensign in the Second Regiment. With a spirit of adventure, he went to India in 1789, having first touched at the Isle of France. In a letter to his father from Madras, in June, 1790, he says, "Having procured recommendatory letters to the English consul residing at the court of his highness, the Nizam, I proceeded to his capital, Hydrabad, 450 miles from Madras. On my arrival, I was presented to his highness in form by the English consul. My reception was as favorable as my most sanguine wishes had anticipated. After the usual ceremony was over, he presented me with the command of two kansolars of infantry, each of which consists of 500 men." His commission and pay were in accordance with his command. He describes the army of the Nizam, which had taken the field against Tippoo Sultan. It consisted of 150,000 infantry, 60,000 cavalry, and 500 elephants, each elephant supporting a "castle" containing a nabob and servants. He remained in India several years, in a sort of guerrilla service, and obtained much favor. He was in Paris early in 1808, and at home in the autumn of that year, when he was appointed (October 2) colonel of the Fourth Regiment of the U. S. Army. He was in the battle of Tippecanoe in November, 1811, and on the commencement of war with Great Britain he was appointed (August 26) a brigadier general. He held that rank throughout the war. He was at the capture of Fort George, and in the battle of Chrysler’s Field, or Williamsburg, in Canada. He left the army in 1815, and the following year he went to England to obtain indemnity for the loss of a valuable cargo of saltpetre, captured by an English cruiser while on its way from the East Indies. He procured only a single installment of $30,000. President Jackson appointed him Naval Officer at Boston in 1830. He died there the same year, on the 4th of October, at the age of sixty-six years.

General Boyd was a tall, well-formed, and handsome man; kind, courteous, and generous. I am indebted to the courtesy of the Hon. William Willis, of Portland, Maine, for the materials of the above brief sketch and the profile of the general.

13 The committee consisted of Samuel T. Scott, Alexander Devin, Luke Decker, Ephraim Jordan, Daniel M‘Clure, Walter Wilson, and Francis Vigo. In a letter dated August 3, 1811, and addressed to the President, they said, "In this part of the country we have not, as yet, lost any of our fellow-citizens by the Indians; but depredations upon the property of those who live upon the frontiers, and insults to the families that are left unprotected, almost daily occur." – Dillon’s History of Indiana, page 456.

14 I am indebted to Mr. D. B. Poignard, of Taylorsville, Kentucky, for a very interesting narrative of this campaign, taken by him from the lips of Captain Funk in 1862, then aged eighty years, and enjoying good health of mind and body on his fertile farm eight miles from Louisville. Mr. Funk was a native of Maryland, where he was born in 1782. He was of German descent. His narrative is clear, and exceedingly interesting, and I have availed myself of its valuable information in compiling the account of this memorable campaign.

Captain Funk says that Governor Harrison was in Louisville in August, 1811, when the narrator was in command of a company of militia cavalry there. At Harrison’s personal request he hastened to Governor Scott, and obtained permission to raise a company of cavalry to join the forces of the Governor of Indiana at Vincennes, for an expedition up the Wabash. Harrison also called for a company of infantry, to be raised by Captain James Hunter, who was afterward second in command, under Colonel Croghan, at Fort Stephenson, on the Sandusky; but, before leaving Louisville, he concluded that Funk’s cavalry would be quite sufficient. Captain Funk raised his company in the course of a few days, and early in September joined Colonel Bartholomew’s regiment, then marching on Vincennes. At this place they found Colonel Joseph H. Daviess, with two other volunteers (James Mead and Ben. Saunders) from Lexington, the colonel’s then place of residence. There were with him, also, four young gentlemen from Louisville, namely, George Croghan, John O’Fallon, a millionaire of St. Louis in 1862, ----- Moore, afterward a captain in the U. S. Army, and ----- Hynes.

The signature of Captain Funk (then bearing the title of Major), above given, is copied from a note to me from him, written in September, 1861.

15 Fort Knox was erected by Major Hamtramck in 1787, and named in honor of General Henry Knox, the Secretary of War.

16 Published by Modesitt and Hager in the year 1848.

17 For an account of General Wallace’s military services, see Lossing’s Pictorial History of the Civil War.

18 Judge Naylor was born in Rockingham County, Virginia, on the 30th of July, 1790, and at the age of three years was taken by his family to a settlement near Ruddle’s Station, Bourbon County, Kentucky. He removed to Clarke County, Indiana, in 1805, and in 1810 made a voyage to New Orleans on a flat-boat. He repeated it next year, and soon after his return, and while preparing for college, he joined Harrison’s army at Vincennes as a volunteer in Captain James Bigger’s company. He assisted in the construction of Fort Harrison, participated in the battle of Tippecanoe soon afterward, and, at different times during the war with Great Britain that ensued, served as a volunteer, but was not in any other battle. In 1860 he was elected Judge of the Common Pleas of Montgomery County.

19 Ambrose Whitlock was born at Bowling Green, Caroline County, Virginia, on the 25th of April, 1769. At an early age he went to Kentucky. He enlisted in Wayne’s army, and was with him throughout his Indian campaigns. At one time he was his aid. He was five years in garrison at Fort Washington (Cincinnati) as sergeant. President Adams commissioned him lieutenant in 1800. In 1802 he was appointed assistant military agent at Vincennes, and also assistant paymaster. He became district paymaster in 1805, a first lieutenant in the regular army in 1807, and a captain in 1812. He relinquished his rank in the line in June, 1814, and in May, 1815, was appointed deputy paymaster general of the district composed of Kentucky, Illinois, and Indiana. He was disbanded in 1816, having served in the army twenty-three years and a half, and attained to the rank of major. He was never in military service afterward. After serving eight years as receiver of the public moneys in Indiana, he was dismissed by General Jackson to make room for some one else. It is supposed that not half a dozen soldiers of Wayne’s army now (1867) survive. In the possession of Mr. Dillon at Indianapolis I saw a daguerreotype of Martin Huckleberry, one of Wayne’s army, then (September, 1860) just taken from life; and in Bangor, Maine, I saw in November, 1860, Henry van Meter, a colored man, over ninety years of age, who was also in "Mad Anthony’s" army. I am indebted to General Wallace for the portrait of Major Whitlock, from which this engraving was made. It was taken when he was in his ninety-first year. He died at his residence in Crawfordsville on the 26th of June, 1863, when over ninety-four years of age.

20 There was a schism in the great Democratic party, so-called, in the spring of 1860, when one portion nominated Stephen A. Douglas, of Illinois, for the Presidency, and were called the "Douglas Democrats," and the other portion nominated John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky, then the Vice-President of the United States, and were known as the "Breckinridge Democrats." Opposed to the entire Democratic party was the Republican, a political organization of a few years’ standing, composed of men of all the old parties, whose leading distinctive object was the prevention of the extension of slavery beyond the states and Territories in which it already existed. This party had nominated Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, for President. A fourth party, professedly conservative, and calling themselves the Union party, nominated John Bell, of Tennessee, for President, and Edward Everett, of Massachusetts, for Vice-President. They were frequently called the Bell-Everett party. At the election in November, 1860, these four candidates were supported by their respective friends. Mr. Lincoln was elected. Mr. Douglas died in the city of Chicago early in the following June. Mr. Bell had already declared his affiliation with rebels in arms against the government; while Mr. Breckinridge, a lately-chosen senator from Kentucky, only waited for the close of the extraordinary session of Congress, held in July, and the payment of his salary from the Treasury of the United States, to openly declare himself an enemy to that country, and become a traitor by taking up arms to overthrow the government.

21 Republican associations, pledged to the support of the candidates of that party, were formed all over the free-labor states in 1860. They wore round capes, and oftentimes lights on their hats, and assumed the name of "Wide-awakes." They formed the staple of Republican torch-light processions in the autumn of 1860. Mr. Douglas was a short, powerful man. In allusion to his mental strength and shortness in stature, he was called by his admirers the Little Giant. The young men of his party formed associations like the "Wide-awakes," called themselves "Little Giants," and formed the staple of the torch-light processions of the Douglas party in the autumn of 1860.

22 These were large flat-boats for conveying passengers, teams, and freight. They are pushed across by poles at low water, and at high water are secured and assisted in the passage by a huge cable stretched from shore to shore.

23 Dillon’s History of Indiana, page 462.

24 Having been informed that the Indians were more numerous in his front than he had anticipated, Governor Harrison had sent Colonel Daviess and one or two others to Kentucky to apply for a re-enforcement of five hundred men. Brigadier General Wells immediately ordered out his brigade and beat up for volunteers. The privates hanging back, Wells and several of his officers stepped out, and being joined by some of the file, the volunteers mustered thirty-two men. They elected Colonel F. Geiger as their captain. The reluctance of the men to turn out was owing in part to their scruples, the brigade having been ordered out without orders from the Governor of Kentucky. The governor being at Frankfort, there was no time to consult him. – Funk’s Narrative.

25 It was believed that the Indians might make a stand there, as they did in 1780, when General George Rogers Clarke undertook a campaign against the Wabash Indians, and again, in 1790, when Major Hamtramck penetrated that region with a small force as high as the vermilion River, to make a diversion in favor of General Harmar’s expedition on the Maumee.

26 See page 54.

27 Harrison’s dispatch to the Secretary of War from Vincennes, November 18, 1811.

28 Was appointed Captain of the Seventh Infantry in 1808, and Major of the Fourth Infantry in 1810. In August, 1812, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of Seventh Infantry, and resigned in April, 1813.

29 Afterward Lieutenant Colonel of Indiana volunteers under General Harrison. He was appointed United States Major General of the Indiana Territory in 1816.

30 Appointed Captain of the Fourth Infantry in 1808, and died of his wounds received in the battle of Tippecanoe on the 9th of November, 1811.

31 First Lieutenant in Fourth Infantry in 1808, promoted to captain in 1809, and resigned in September, 1812.

32 First Lieutenant in Fourth Infantry in 1808, regimental paymaster in April, 1809, and promoted to captain in June the same year. He was breveted a major for gallantry at Brownstown, in August, 1812. In April, 1813, was appointed assistant inspector general, with the rank of major, and in February, 1814, was commissioned Lieutenant Colonel of the Fourth Regiment of Riflemen. In April he received the commission of inspector general, with the rank of colonel. He was distinguished at Lyon’s Creek, on the Chippewa, under General Bissell; and when the army was placed on a peace footing in 1815 he was retained as Lieutenant Colonel of the Sixth Infantry. He was promoted {original text has "promotod".} to Colonel of the Fifth in 1819. He died at Washington City on the 20th of August, 1828.

33 He was a major in Adair’s battalion of mounted riflemen, General Charles Scott’s division of Kentucky Volunteers, in 1793. He was afterward made Major General of the Kentucky Militia. He was appointed Colonel of the Seventeenth Regiment of Infantry in March, 1812, and was disbanded in May, 1814.

34 He afterward commanded a company of Louisville volunteers under Major General Harrison.

35 Parke was promoted to major on this field of action by Governor Harrison for his gallant conduct. His company was discharged in November, 1812.

36 It is believed that the treachery of the Indians did not take the shape of an attack on Harrison’s camp until late that evening, it having been primarily arranged that they should meet the governor in council, and appear to agree to his terms. At the close the chiefs were to retire to their warriors, when two Winnebagoes, selected for the purpose, were to kill the governor, and give the signal for the uprising of the Indians. – See Indian Biography, by Samuel G. Drake, 1832; 12mo, page 337.

37 During the night a negro camp follower who had been missed from duty was found lurking near the governor’s marquee, and arrested. He was tried after the battle by a drum-head court-martial, and was convicted of having deserted to the enemy, and returned for the purpose of murdering the governor. He was sentenced to be hung immediately, but was saved in consequence of the kindness of heart of the governor. His imploring eyes touched Harrison’s tender feelings, and he referred the matter to the commissioned officers present. Some were for his immediate execution, when Snelling said, "Brave comrades, let us save him. The wretch deserves to die; but as our commander, whose life was more particularly his object, is willing to spare him, let us also forgive him. I hope, at least, that every officer of the Fourth Regiment will be on the side of mercy." Ben was saved. – Harrison’s letter to Governor Scott, of Kentucky, cited by Hall, page 149. Captain Funk, in his narrative, says the negro was the driver of Governor Harrison’s cart, and that he informed the Indians that the white people had no cannon with them. Cannon were the dread of the savages. Doubtless this information caused a change in the policy mentioned in note 5, page 203, and caused the savages to conclude to attack the pale-faces.

38 Judge Naylor, of Crawfordsville, already mentioned as a participant in the battle, informed me that the name of the sentinel who first fired and gave the alarm was Stephen Mars, of Kentucky. He fired, and fled to the camp, but was shot before reaching it.

39 Statement of Judge Naylor. Captain Funk says that Harrison’s own white horse was ridden by Major Taylor, the general’s aid, against his wishes.

40 The letter B in the plan marks the spot where Daviess fell. It was near an oak whose top was blown off in a gale a few years ago. It is seen in the sketch of the battle-ground as it appeared in 1860, printed on page 209.

41 Daviess was gallant and impatient of restraint. One of his party was General Washington Johns, of Vincennes, a quarter-master of the dragoons, who was intimate with Harrison. Daviess sent him to the governor when the Indians first made the attack at this point, asking permission to go out on foot and charge the foe. "Tell Major Daviess to be patient; he shall have an honorable station before the battle is over," Harrison replied. In a few moments Daviess repeated the request, and the governor made the same reply. Again he repeated it, when Harrison said, "Tell Major Daviess he has heard my opinion twice; he may now use his own discretion." The gallant major, with only twenty picked men, instantly charged beyond the lines on foot, and was mortally wounded. He was a conspicuous mark in the gloom, because he wore a white blanket coat. – Statements of Judge Naylor and Captain Funk. The latter says Colonel Daviess’s horse was a roan bought of Frank Moore, of Louisville. The Indians were masked by some fallen timber. Captain Funk attended him at about nine o’clock; assisted in changing his clothes, and dressing his wounds. He was shot between the right hip and ribs, and it was believed that the fatal bullet proceeded from the ranks of his friends firing in the gloom. Daviess was afraid the expedition might be driven away hastily, and leave those wounded behind. He exacted a promise from Captain Funk that in no event would he leave him to fall into the hands of the savages.

42 Harrison’s dispatch to Dr. Eustis, Secretary of War, November 18, 1811; M‘Afee’s History of the Late War in the Western Country, pages 22-30; Onderdonk’s MS. Life of Tecumseh; Drake’s Indian Biography; Hall’s Life of Harrison, pages 132-146; Dillon’s History of Indiana, pages 447-472; statements to the author by Judge Naylor, of Crawfordsville, Indiana, and Major Funk, of Kentucky.

The 7th was passed in burying the dead and strengthening the encampment, for rumors were plenty that Tecumtha was coming to the aid of his brother with a thousand warriors. "Night," says Captain Funk, "found every man mounting guard, without food, fire, or light, and in a drizzly rain. The Indian dogs, during the dark hours, produced frequent alarms by prowling in search of carrion about the sentinels."

43 Elkswatawa (the Prophet) now started on a recruiting-tour among the various tribes on the Upper Lakes and Mississippi, all of which he visited with astonishing success. He entered the villages of his most inveterate enemies, and of others who had not even heard his name, and so manœuvred as to make his mystery-fire and sacred string of beans a safe passport through all their settlements. He enlisted some eight or ten thousand warriors to fight the battles of his brother. He carried into every wigwam an image of a dead person the size of life, which was ingeniously made of some light material, and kept concealed under bandages of thin white muslin, and not to be opened to public scrutiny. Of this he made great mystery, and got his recruits to swear by touching the string of white beans attached to its neck. By his extraordinary cunning he carried terror wherever he went. If they did not obey him he threatened to make the earth tremble to its centre and darken the light of the sun. Nature seemed to conspire with the Prophet, for at this very time an earthquake extended along the Mississippi, demolishing houses and settling the ground. A comet, too, appeared in the north with fearful length of tail, and seemed a harbinger to the fulfillment of the predictions of the Prophet. The sun was eclipsed, to the great terror of the savages, but, as the Prophet declared, it resumed its wonted brightness because of his intercession. But while in the full tide of success, two rival chiefs of his own tribe dogged the footsteps of the Prophet, denounced him as an impostor, and exposed his tricks. – Onderdonk’s MS. Life of Tecumseh.

44 He lost, in killed and wounded, ten officers, namely, one aid-de-camp, one major, three captains, two subalterns, one sergeant, and two corporals. Judge Naylor told me that the sergeant and himself were asleep at the same fire when the attack commenced, and that a bullet from an Indian’s musket killed him as he was springing to his feet. Colonel Abraham Owen, Harrison’s aid-de-camp, was killed early in the engagement, when he and the governor rode to the point of first attack. Letter A in the plan on page 205 marks the spot where he fell. He rode a white horse, and this made him a mark for the Indians. The enemies of Harrison afterward asserted that the latter, to conceal himself, had exchanged horses with Owen. The fact was as I have stated – his own horse had scampered away in a fright, and he had mounted the first one near, which happened to be a dark-colored one. The horse Owen rode was his own. That officer had joined him as a private of Geiger’s company, and had been accepted as his volunteer aid. He was a good citizen and a brave soldier, and had been a member of the Kentucky Legislature.

Among the mortally wounded, and who died before Harrison made his report, was Major Daviess, and Captains Baen and Warrick. Daviess, commonly called "Joe Daviess," was the most brilliant man in that little army, and was as brave as he was brilliant. He was a Virginian by birth, and at the time of his death was only thirty-seven years of age. He took a leading part against Aaron Burr in the West in 1806. Previous to that he had been a successful opponent of the Nicholases in political movements, they being Republicans and he a Federalist. He was a great student, very abstemious, used a hewn block for a pillow, and a bed nearly as hard. His oratory was powerful, and Wilson C. Nicholas, the leader of that art in Kentucky at the close of the last century, was often compelled to bend to his young rival. Alluding to this power, a Tennessee poet (Robert Mack) wrote as follows, in a rhyming eulogy, after his death:

"Emerging from his studious shed,

Behold, behold him rise!
All Henry bursting from his tongue,
And Marshall from his eyes.
Chained by the magic of his voice,
Fierce party spirit stood;
E’en prejudice almost gave way,
While with resistless reasoning’s sway
O’er far-famed Nicholas he rolled
The oratorial flood."

In 1801, ’02 Mr. Daviess went to Washington City on professional business, and was the first Western lawyer who ever appeared in the Supreme Court of the United States. Mr. Jefferson made him Attorney of the United States for the District of Kentucky. He married a sister of Chief Justice Marshall, and always held a front rank in his profession. Daviess County, Kentucky, was named in his honor. He was wounded at about five o’clock in the morning of the 7th of November, and survived until one o’clock in the afternoon of the same day. He was nearly six feet high, vigorous and athletic. He was born in Bedford County, Virginia, on the 4th of March, 1774.

45 Harrison was continually exposed during the action, but escaped unhurt. A bullet passed through his hat. Major Henry Hurst, who was one of his aids-de-camp (and an active one) in this battle, and was the only lawyer who resided in Indiana while it was a Territory, died at Jeffersonville, on the Ohio, opposite Louisville, where he had lived forty years, on the 1st of January, 1855, in the eighty-fifth year of his age.

46 In his dispatch to the Secretary of War, Harrison said of Colonel Boyd; "The whole of the infantry formed a small brigade, under the immediate orders of Colonel Boyd. The colonel throughout the action manifested equal zeal and bravery in carrying into execution my orders, in keeping the men to their posts, and exhorting them to fight with valor." Judge Naylor informed me that he heard Colonel Boyd frequently cry out, "Huzzah! my sons of gold, the day is ours!"

47 Among the many "verses composed on the occasion of the battle of Tippecanoe," none were more popular in the West, for a long time, than a string of solemn doggerel, printed on a small broadside of rough paper, at Frankfort, Kentucky. A copy lies before me. It is entitled, "A Bloody Battle between the United States Troops, under the command of Governor Harrison, and several Tribes of Indians, near the Prophet’s Town, November 7, 1811."

At the head is a rude wood-cut, evidently made by an amateur for some other scene, for a camp exhibits two cannon. A little distance off are seen three Indians. I give a fac-simile of this remarkable "illustration" (of reduced size), as a specimen of the art in the West at that time. The following specimen of the "poetry" shows a "fitness of things" between the rhyme and the picture:

"Harrison, a commander of great renown,
Led on our troops near by the Prophet’s town;
After evils o’ercome and obstructions past,
Near this savage town they encamped at last."

Readers anxious to peruse the other seven verses will find the whole "poem" in the third volume of M‘Carty’s National Song-book, page 440.

48 This village is the child of a college located there, called The Battle-ground Institute, devoted to the education of both sexes. It was founded in 1858, and the village was soon afterward laid out. Both college and "city" are flourishing. The former was under the charge of Rev. E. H. Staley when I was there, and contained almost three hundred pupils. The college is situated in a grove of oaks on the upper border of the battle-ground, and the shaded inclosure forms a delightful promenade and place for out-of-door study. Several students, with their books, were seen under the trees when we were there.



Transcription and html prepared by Bill Carr, last updated 10/28/2001.

Please provide me with any feedback you may have concerning errors in the transcription or any supplementary information concerning the contents. [email protected]

Copyright Notice: Copyright 2001. All files on this site are copyrighted by their creator. They may be linked to but may not be reproduced on another site without the specific permission of their creator. Although public information is not in and of itself copyrightable, the format in which it is presented, the notes and comments, etc., are. It is, however, quite permissible to print or save the files to a personal computer for personal use ONLY.