Heavy clouds hid both moon and stars, and the air was oppressively hot. The soldiers marched along the dusty road, guided by Baby and St Martin, who had volunteered for the work. Not a sound save their own dull tramp broke the silence. On their right gleamed the calm river, and keeping pace with them were two large bateaux armed with swivels. Presently, as the troops passed the farm-houses, drowsy watch-dogs caught the sound of marching feet and barked furiously. Pontiac’s camp, however, was still far away; this barking would not alarm the Indians. But the soldiers did not know that they had been betrayed by a spy of Pontiac’s within the fort, nor did they suspect that snake-like eyes were even then watching their advance.
At length Parent’s Creek was reached, where a narrow wooden bridge spanned the stream a few yards from its mouth. The advance-guard were half-way over the bridge, and the main body crowding after them, when, from a black ridge in front, the crackle of musketry arose, and half the advance-guard fell. The narrow stream ran red with their blood, and ever after this night it was known as Bloody Run. On the high ground to the north of the creek a barricade of cordwood had been erected, and behind this and behind barns and houses and fences, and in the corn-fields and orchards, Indians were firing and yelling like demons. The troops recoiled, but Dalyell rallied them; again they crowded to the bridge. There was another volley and another pause. With reckless bravery the soldiers pressed across the narrow way and rushed to the spot where the musket-flashes were seen. They won the height, but not an Indian was there. The musket-flashes continued and war-whoops sounded from new shelters. The bateaux drew up alongside the bridge, and the dead and wounded were taken on board to be carried to the fort. It was useless to attempt to drive the shifty savages from their lairs, and so the retreat was sounded. Captain Grant, in charge of the rear company, led his men back across the bridge while Dalyell covered the retreat; and now the fight took on a new aspect. As the soldiers retreated along the road leading to the fort, a destructive fire poured upon them from houses and barns, from behind fences, and from a newly dug cellar. With the river on their left, and with the enemy before and behind as well as on their sight, they were in danger of being annihilated. Grant ordered his men to fix bayonets: a dash was made where the savages were thickest, and they were scattered. As the fire was renewed panic seized the troops. But Dalyell came up from the rear, and with shouts and threats and flat of sword restored order. Day was breaking; but a thick fog hung over the scene, under cover of which the Indians continued the attack. The house of Jacques Campau, a trader, sheltered a number of Indians who were doing most destructive work. Rogers and a party of his Rangers attacked the house, and, pounding in the doors, drove out their assailants. From