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 99 pages of information about The War Chief of the Ottawas .

At daybreak from the surrounding wood the terrifying war-cries of the Indians fell on the ears of the troops.  Slowly the shrill yells came nearer; the Indians were endeavouring to strike terror into the hearts of their foes before renewing the fight, knowing that troops in dread of death are already half beaten.  When within five hundred yards of the centre of the camp the Indians began firing.  The troops replied with great steadiness.  This continued until ten in the morning.  The wounded within the barricade lay listening to the sounds of battle, ever increasing in volume, and the fate of Braddock’s men rose before them.  It seemed certain that their sufferings must end in death—­and what a death!  The pack-horses, tethered at a little distance from the barricade, offered an easy target, against which the Indians soon directed their fire, and the piteous cries of the wounded animals added to the tumult of the battle.  Some of the horses, maddened by wounds, broke their fastenings and galloped into the forest.  But the kilted Highlanders and the red-coated Royal Americans gallantly fought on.  Their ranks were being thinned; the fatiguing work of the previous day was telling on them; their throats were parched and their tongues swollen for want of water.  Bouquet surveyed the field.  He saw his men weakening under the terrible strain, and realized that something must be done promptly.  The Indians were each moment becoming bolder, pressing ever nearer and nearer.

Then he conceived one of the most brilliant movements known in Indian warfare.  He ordered two companies, which were in the most exposed part of the field, to fall back as though retreating within the circle that defended the hill.  At the same time the troops on the right and left opened their files, and, as if to cover the retreat, occupied the space vacated in a thinly extended line.  The strategy worked even better than Bouquet had expected.  The yelling Indians, eager for slaughter and believing that the entire command was at their mercy, rushed pell-mell from their shelter, firing sharp volleys into the protecting files.  These were forced back, and the savages dashed forward for the barricade which sheltered the wounded.  Meanwhile the two companies had taken position on the right, and from a sheltering hill that concealed them from the enemy they poured an effective fire into the savages.  The astonished Indians replied, but with little effect, and before they could reload the Highlanders were on them with the bayonet.  The red men then saw that they had fallen into a trap, and turned to flee.  But suddenly on their left two more companies rose from ambush and sent a storm of bullets into the retreating savages, while the Highlanders and Royal Americans dashed after them with fixed bayonets.  The Indians at other parts of the circle, seeing their comrades in flight, scattered into the forest.  The defiant war-cries ceased and the muskets were silent.  The victory was complete:  Bouquet had beaten the Indians in their own woods and at their own game.  About sixty of the enemy lay dead and as many more wounded.  In the two days of battle the British had fifty killed, sixty wounded, and five missing.  It was a heavy price; but this victory broke the back of the Indian war.

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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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