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Such was the determined bravery with which the unfortunate Colonel and his men, met this surprise, that it is by no means improbable the event of the day would have been very different, but for the treachery or cowardice of one of his men ; who, after a contest of nearly an hour, in which a manifest ad. vantantage had been gained over the enemy, cried out that the Colonel had ordered a retreat. The confu, sion which ensued may be easily conceived; the assailants rushed in, and commenced the bloody work of slaughter, The Colonel with about 70 of his party, by the most singular good management and courage, effected their escape and gained the little fort of Wilkesborough, on the other side of the river. After the savages had completed their work of slaughter in the field, they proceeded inmediately to invest Fort Kingston, in which Colonel Dennison had been left with the small remnant of Colonel Butler's troops, and the defenceless women and children. In such a state of weakness, a defence of the Fort was out of the question ; and all that remained to Dennison was to attempt to gain some advantageous terms by the offer of a surrender. For this purpose, he went himself to the savage chief; but tbat iuhuman monster, that Christian cannibal, replied to the question of terms, that he should grant them the hatchet.-He was more than true to his word-for, when after resisting until all his garrison were killed or disabled, Colonel Dennison was compelled to surrender at discretion, his merciless conqueror, tired of scalping, and finding the slow process of individual murder insufficient to glut his appetite, shut up all that remained in the houses and barracks, and by the summary aid of fire; reduced all at once to one promiscuous heap of ashes.
Nothing now remained that wore the face of resist. ance to these savage invaders, but the little fort of Wilksborough, into which about seventy of Colonel Butler's men had effected their retreat, as has been said. These, with about the same number of continental soldiers, constituted its whole force; and when their enemy appeared before them, they surrendered without even asking conditions, under the hope that their voluntary obedience might find some mercy. But mercy dwelt not in the bosoms of these American tories_submission could not stay their insatiable thirst of blood. The cruelties and barbarities which were practised upon thesc unresisting soldiers, were even more wanton, if possible, than those which had been exhibited at Fort Kingston. The seventy continental soldiers, because they were conti. nental soldiers, were deliberately butchered in cruel succession; and then a repetition of the same scene of
. general and promiscuous conflagration took place which had closed the tragedy at the other fort. Men, women, and children were locked up in the houses, and left to mingle their cries and screams with the flames that mocked the power of an avenging God.
All this it might have been thought, would bave fully satiated even tory vengeance : but the desolation of Wyoming was not yet complete—there still remained waving fields of corn, that had promised plenty to the wretched inhabitants—there still remained many evidences of the industry of the farmer and the mechanick. These were to be swept from the face of the earth. And when the habitations, and the growing wheat, had been alike given up to the flames, the vengeance of these merciless spoilers next fell upon the mute and unoffending beasts of the
field. The tongues of horses and cattle were cut out, and the agonized animals driven about for the amusement of their brutal tormentors. The massacre of men, the conflagration of houses, the butchery of women and children, to the disgrace of civilized man, have been often before recorded among the calamities and horrours of war; but we hope, and believe, that this is the only instance in the annals of the world, where men have made war with the brute creation, and inflicted torments from the mere love of cruelty. The horses, farms and other possessions of the tories were exempted from the general devastation, where they were known; but this was not al. ways the case—the ignorance or unrestrainable ferocity of their friends, sometimes brought them into a participation of the general sufferings, and many of them were driven to seek protection from the fury of their friends, of the proscribed and wandering patriots.
Horrible as was this tragedy in its general features, there were peculiar circumstances attending some of its scenes, which, but that the evidences of their reality are too strong, we should pass over as the creations of a distempered mind. A Captain Bedlock, who had been taken prisoner, had his naked body stuck full of sharpened pine sticks, and being in this state placed within a circle of turpentine knots, the whole was set on fire; and as if to add a mental pang to the agonies of the body, his two friends, Captains Ransom and Durgee, were thrown into the burning cir. cle to perish with him.--A mother with her danghters and infant grandchildren were butchered by a son ; her crime was having married a second husband, who also fell by the same hand. - In another instance, a son
became the cold blooded executioner of father, mother, sisters and brothers. These things were not the
, . ebullitions of a momentary rage in the heat of battle --they were transacted some days after all resistance had ceased—not by the wild untutored Indians, but by civilized men, professing the religion of Christ by American tories. It is seldom just or reasonable to censure a wbole people, or a whole party, for the licentious conduct of a few individuals; but it certainly cannot be regarded as wonderful that the name of tory should continue even to the present day to be a theme of execration by the people of the United States. We do not for a moment admit the belief, that the fiends of Wyoming perpetrated their enormities under the sanction, or by the orders, of the British government; but it must nevertheless be regarded as an everlasting stigma upon their character, that no means were taken to punish these violators of all law, human and divine, or to disavow the offence. It is too true, indeed, on the contrary, that many
of these shameless outrages against humanity are to be traced to the avowed agents of the English government, who by paying large rewards for scalps, excited the avarice of white, as well as red men, and inured them to scenes of blood. Whether these agents had the direct orders of their government to do this, or not, they were certainly clothed with authority, and according to the maxim, qui facit per alium, facit per se, the government must remain obnoxious to the reproach of wanton barbarity in the conduct of the war.
During the present summer, an expedition was fitted ont from Virginia by Colonel Clarke, against the settlements in the Mississippi and Illinois country.
His force consisted of about 250 men, with whom he undertook to traverse a distance of 1R00 miles, through an uninhabited wilderness. The provision which they were able to take with them, held out only until their arrival at the great falls of the Ohio, from which they had a march of two days before them to the town of Kaskaskias. This town consisted of about two hundred and fifty houses, protected by a small fort, which with proper precaution would have been sufficient to have kept off a much larger force than that which was now brought against it. But the Americans, who had fasted for two days, were determined here to end their sufferings in victory or death. They had arrived at night, when the inhabitants of the town, unsuspicious of any hostile approach, were buried in sleep; so that the iowu and fort fell into the hands of Colonel Clarke, without a struggle. He had so well planned his attack that not a man escaped. The Governour was sent to Virginia, and the inhabitants were required to take an oath of allegiance to the United States. Colonel Clarke took up his head quarters at the fort, and from thence planned several expeditions into the neighbouring settle. ments, which proved equally successful--having taken three French towns, and brought them under allegiance to the United States.