The War Chief of the Ottawas : A chronicle of the Pontiac war eBook

Thomas Guthrie Marquis
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 83 pages of information about The War Chief of the Ottawas .
there was intermittent firing from the ridges.  Another day passed, and at night came a lull in the siege.  A demand was made to surrender.  An English soldier who had been adopted by the savages, and was aiding them in the attack, cried out that the destruction of the fort was inevitable, that in the morning it would be fired at the top and bottom, and that unless the garrison yielded they would all be burnt to death.  Christie asked till morning to consider; and, when morning came, he agreed to yield up the fort on condition that the garrison should be allowed to march to the next post.  But as his men filed out they were seized and bound, then cast into canoes and taken to Detroit.  Their lives, however, were spared; and early in July, when the Wyandots made with Gladwyn the peace which they afterwards broke, Christie and a number of his men were the first prisoners given up.

A few miles inland, south of Presqu’isle, on the trade-route leading to Fort Pitt, was a rude blockhouse known as Le Boeuf.  This post was at the end of the portage from Lake Erie, on Alleghany Creek, where the canoe navigation of the Ohio valley began.  Here were stationed Ensign George Price and thirteen men.  On June 18 a band of Indians arrived before Le Boeuf and attacked it with muskets and fire-arrows.  The building was soon in flames.  As the walls smoked and crackled the savages danced in wild glee before the gate, intending to shoot down the defenders as they came out.  But there was a window at the rear of the blockhouse, through which the garrison escaped to the neighbouring forest.  When night fell the party became separated.  Some of them reached Fort Venango two days later, only to find it in ruins.  Price and seven men laboriously toiled through the forest to Fort Pitt, where they arrived on June 26.  Ultimately, all save two of the garrison of Fort Le Boeuf reached safety.

The circumstances attending the destruction of Fort Venango on June 20 are but vaguely known.  This fort, situated near the site of the present city of Franklin, had long been a centre of Indian trade.  In the days o the French occupation it was known as Fort Machault.  After the French abandoned the place in the summer of 1760 a new fort had been erected and named Venango.  In 1763 there was a small garrison here under Lieutenant Gordon.  For a time all that was known of its fate was reported by the fugitives from Le Boeuf and a soldier named Gray, who had escaped from Presqu’isle.  These fugitives had found Venango completely destroyed, and, in the ruins, the blackened bones of the garrison.  It was afterwards learned that the attacking Indians were Senecas, and that they had tortured the commandant to death over a slow fire, after compelling him to write down the reason for the attack.  It was threefold:  (1) the British charged exorbitant prices for powder, shot, and clothing; (2) when Indians were ill-treated by British soldiers they could obtain no redress; (3) contrary to the wishes of the Indians, forts were being built in their country, and these could mean but one thing—­the determination of the invaders to deprive them of their hunting-grounds.

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The War Chief of the Ottawas : A chronicle of the Pontiac war from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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