ture the enemy's baggage, and promptly lined up his men, in company with Colonel Todd, Major Chambers, Major E. R. Wood, Captain Langham, of Ohio, General Lewis Cass, and Lieutenant Robert Scrogin, of Captain Matson's company.

From early dawn all the troops had been busy at work. The day had scarcely broken when the American column started in pursuit of the British, and so great had been the zeal of the infantry, and such their endurance of fatigue, that almost the entire day they kept close within reach of the cavalry. They had already marched thirteen miles, and it was well on in the afternoon before the conflict took place. It was fully half past four o'clock before the pursuing detachment was enabled to proceed regularly to its purpose.

From the commander to the private, in this whole army there was one consuming desire—to capture General Proctor. His brutal and barbarous cruelty and inhuman conduct at Raisin, Meigs, and elsewhere to American prisoners had filled the heart and soul of every Kentuckian not only with indignation but hatred; and stirred by these feelings, Major Payne, immediately assuming command, took charge of the small detachment, which in so brief time could be gathered, and entered upon the pursuit. Riding hard, pressing their wearied steeds to the utmost endeavor, prisoner after prisoner was taken, until with not more than sixty of his soldiers he had captured fully that number of British infantry and cavalry.

In the pursuit, when Major Payne and his followers came upon Indians they were waved from the path or shot down. It was not the deluded savage red man that these heroes desired to capture and kill; it was the man who pretended to be civilized, who wore the British uniform, and had perpetrated such cruelties on defenseless prisoners, who was the true object of the chase.

With unflagging zeal, though weary and sore, this little command pursued the fleeing enemy until of the sixty who had started in the chase only nine remained. The pursuit was along a narrow road cut through the forest. It was a road which had been used by the British for their wagons and pack-horses through Canada from Toronto to Detroit. It was not more than fifty feet in width, and when hotly pushed the fleeing enemy, one by one, dropped into the thick forest on either side.

Proctor, who had taken an early start, with his cowardly conscience belaboring him and a guard of British soldiers protecting him, with his carriage and one or two wagons for his baggage, was running away with all the speed that his guilty fears could command.

The pursuing column, animated by the hope of the capture of the man who had incurred the hate and displeasure of all Kentuckians, rode with never-faltering step. The tramp of their steeds was heard by the guilty British general, who, abandoning his carriage and wagons, hastily mounted a horse, and with a small guard and some Indian guides, fled through the forest. In a few moments the pursuing party reached his baggage-wagons, guarded by six British regulars, who quickly surrendered, and in a short distance, further along the line, Colonel Elliott, whose barbarities and whose savage instincts, cultivated by the hate of his fellow-countrymen, had done so much and so barbarously for the destruction of women and children, was overtaken. He, too, was compelled to abandon his carriage and rush into the woods to prevent capture.

General Proctor's baggage, papers, telescope, and official documents were all captured. The prisoners were corralled and carried back to the Moravian Town, thirty of them being in charge of the nine persons who had made this vigorous pursuit. It was ten o'clock before the advance of this pursuing party reached the Moravian Town, and it was after eleven o'clock when Major Payne arrived at General Harrison's headquarters and reported to him the result of the chase.1

1 One of the men engaged in this chase was Christopher Lillard, of Ellison's company. From a British officer who he forced to surrender he took a beautiful dragoon flint-lock pistol, which, with the belt and other accoutrements, is now in the possession of Christopher Lillard, his son, of Anderson County, and is as perfect as when captured nearly one hundred years ago. VII


The long, rapid, weary marches were now at an end. The battle had been fought, the victory won. The enemy had been crushed, defeated, scattered, and punished. Raisin and Fort Meigs had been in part avenged, and Kentucky's retribution had been laid with heavy hand upon those who had ruthlessly murdered her sons. Proctor was fleeing in disgrace and cowardice and was yet to be disowned by his king and court-martialed by his peers. Tecumseh, his savage agent, ally, and colleague, was dead and his body hid away in a Canadian forest, far from the place of his nativity and abode, and as these Kentucky patriots arose on the morning of the 6th of October they had much to render them happy, contented, and proud. Unaccustomed to walking, they had made unsurpassed day marches; they had subsisted on limited rations; they had traveled over rough and difficult roads; they had pursued their enemies for a hundred miles into a foreign land; they had faced every danger, met every vicissitude in a perilous undertaking. They had gained a great and important victory, with far-reaching consequences; they had completely broken the power of the savage in a vast territory; they had secured a lasting peace for Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan ; they had taught the red man, who had so long hovered with terror and the tomahawk about the frontiersman's home, that England could not protect him from deserved punishment from his Long Knife foes, and that hereafter the nation with seventeen fires would destroy the Indian if the Indian molested or murdered the white man, and that it was the interest of the Indian and his only safe policy to keep the peace with the pale-face warrior.

All these things had been accomplished in an incredibly short period. It was only fifteen days since this Kentucky army had sailed away from Portage River to Bass Island, the first resting place in Lake Erie. It was only nine days since this army had landed at Malden on British soil, and at the end of a week and two days its mission was accomplished. It had won a glorious renown and performed for its Commonwealth and country superb and immeasurable service.

As the sun rose clear and bright on the morning of the 6th of October, 1813, its light was long delayed in finding the battle-worn and march-weary men who were sleeping beneath the great trees which covered the scene of their triumph on the preceding day. No tents protected the soldiers; there were no houses open for their accommodation, and upon mother earth, wrapped in their

« 上一頁繼續 »