for a wind, the Iroquois asked permission to stretch
their limbs on shore. Horst foolishly granted
their request, and as soon as they had made a landing
they disappeared into the forest, and no doubt hurried
to Pontiac’s warriors to let them know how weakly
manned was the schooner. The weather continued
calm, and by nightfall the Gladwyn
nine miles below the fort. As darkness fell on
that moonless night the captain, alarmed at the flight
of the Iroquois, posted a careful guard and had his
cannon at bow and stern made ready to resist attack.
So dark was the night that it was impossible to discern
objects at any distance. Along the black shore
Indians were gathering, and soon a fleet of canoes
containing over three hundred warriors was slowly
and silently moving towards the becalmed Gladwyn
So noiseless was their approach that they were within
a few yards of the vessel before a watchful sentry,
the boatswain, discerned them. At his warning
cry the crew leapt to their quarters. The bow
gun thundered out, and its flash gave the little band
on the boat a momentary glimpse of a horde of painted
enemies. There was no time to reload the gun.
The canoes were all about the schooner, and yelling
warriors were clambering over the stern and bow and
swarming on the deck. The crew discharged their
muskets into the savages, and then seized spears and
hatchets and rushed madly at them, striking and stabbing
—determined at least to sell their lives
dearly. For a moment the Indians in the black
darkness shrank back from the fierce attack.
But already Horst was killed and several of the crew
were down with mortal wounds. The vessel seemed
lost when Jacobs—a dare-devil seaman—now
in command, ordered his men to blow up the vessel.
A Wyandot brave with some knowledge of English caught
the words and shouted a warning to his comrades.
In an instant every warrior was over the side of the
vessel, paddling or swimming to get to safety.
When morning broke not an Indian was to be seen, and
the little Gladwyn
sailed in triumph to Fort
Detroit. So greatly was the gallantry of her
crew appreciated that Amherst had a special medal
struck and given to each of the survivors.
Meanwhile, at Niagara, supplies were being conveyed
over the portage between the lower landing (now Lewiston)
and Fort Schlosser, in readiness for transport to
the western posts. The Senecas claimed the territory
about Niagara, and the invasion of their land had
greatly irritated them. They particularly resented
the act of certain squatters who, without their consent,
had settled along the Niagara portage. Fort Niagara
was too strong to be taken by assault; but the Senecas
hoped, by biding their time, to strike a deadly blow
against parties conveying goods over the portage.
The opportunity came on September 14. On this
day a sergeant and twenty-eight men were engaged in
escorting down to the landing a wagon-train and pack-horses
which had gone up to Fort Schlosser the day before