Chapter III - The French and Indian War

History of Hampshire County West Virginia From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present
By Hu Maxwell and H. L. Swisher
Morgantown, West Virginia; A. Brown Boughner Printer; 1897

PART 1
CHAPTER III - THE FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR
Pages 30-47

For the first twenty-five years after settlements were commenced in the present territory of West Virginia there was immunity from Indian depredations. There was no occasion for trouble. No tribe occupied the South branch when the first colony was made; and the outposts of the white man could have been pushed across the state until the Ohio river was reached without taking lands claimed or occupied by Indians, except perhaps in the case of two or three very small camps; and this most likely would have been done without conflict with Indians, had not Europeans stirred up these unfortunate children of the forest and sent them against the colonists. This was done by two European nations, first by France, and afterwards by England. There were four Indian wars waged against West Virginia; the war of 1755 and Pontiac's war of 1763, the Dunmore war of 1774 and the Revolutionary war of 1776. In the war beginning in 1755 the French incited and assisted Indians against the English settlements along the whole western border. In the Revolutionary war the British took the place of the French as allies of the Indians, and armed these savages and sent them against the settlers on the western border. For at least a part of the time the British paid the Indians a bounty on every scalp taken, making no distinction between man, woman and. child.

It is proper that the causes bringing about the French and Indian war be briefly recited. No state was more deeply concerned than West Virginia. Had the plan outlined by the French been successfully executed, West Virginia would have been French instead of English, and the settlements by the Virginians would not have been carried west of the Alleghany mountains. The coast of America, from Maine to Georgia, was colonized by English. The French colonized Canada and Louisiana. About the middle of the eighteenth century the design, probably formed long before, of connecting Canada and Louisiana by a chain of forts and settlements, began to be put into execution by the king of France. The cordon was to descend the Alleghany river from Lake Erie to the Ohio, down that stream to the Mississippi and thence to New Orleans. The purpose was to confine the English to the strip of country between the Alleghanies and the Atlantic ocean, which would include New England, the greater part of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Eastern Pennsylvania, the greater part of Maryland, seven eastern counties of West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. The French hoped to hold everything west of the Alleghany mountains. The immediate territory to be secured was the Ohio valley. Missionaries of the Catholic church were the first explorers, not only of the Ohio, but of the Mississippi valley, almost to the head springs of that river. The French took formal possession of both banks of the Ohio in the summer of 1749, when and expedition under Captain Celeron descended that stream and claimed the country in the name of France.

The determination of the Virginians to plant settlements in the Ohio valley was speedily observed by the French, who set to work to counteract the movement. They began the erection of a fort on one of the upper tributaries of the Alleghany river, and no one doubted that they intended to move south as rapidly as they could erect their cordon of forts. Governor Dinwiddle of Virginia decided to send a messenger to the French who already were in the Ohio valley, asking for what purpose they were there, and informing them that the territory belonged to England. It was a mere diplomatic formality, not expected to do any good. This was in the autumn of 1753, and George Washington, then twenty-one years of age, was commissioned to bear the dispatch to the French commander on the Alleghany river. Washington left Williamsburg, Virginia, November 14, to travel nearly six hundred miles through a trackless wilderness in the dead of winter. When he reached the settlement on the Monongahela where Christopher Gist and twelve families had planted a colony, Mr. Gist accompanied him as a guide. The message was delivered to the French commandant, and the reply having been written, Washington and Gist set out upon their return, on foot. The boast of the French that they would build a fort the next summer on the present site of Pittsburg seemed likely to be carried out. Washington counted over two hundred canoes at the French fort on the Alleghany river, and he rightly conjectured that a descent of that stream was contemplated. After many dangers and hardships, Washington reached Williamsburg and delivered to Governor Dinwiddie the reply from the French commandant.

It was now evident that the French intended to resist by force all attempts by the English to colonize the Ohio valley, and were resolved to meet force with force. Governor Dinwiddie called the assembly together, and troops were sent into the Ohio valley. Early in April, 1754, Ensign Ward, with a small detachment, reached the forks of the Ohio, where Pittsburg now stands, and commenced the erection of a fort. Here began the conflict which raged for several years along the border. The French soon appeared in the Alleghany with one thousand men and eighteen cannon and gave the English one hour in which to leave. Resistance was out of the question, and. Ward retreated. The French built a fort which they called Duquesne, in honor of the governor of Canada.

The English were not inclined to submit so tamely. Virginia and Pennsylvania took steps to recover the site at the forks of the Ohio, and to build a fort there. Troops were raised and placed in command of Colonel Fry, while Washington was made lieutenant colonel. The instructions from Governor Dinwiddie were explicit, and directed that all persons, not the subjects of Great Britain, who should attempt to take possession of the Ohio river or any of its tributaries, be killed, destroyed or seized as prisoners. When the troops under Washington reached the Great Meadows, near the present site of Brownsville, Pennsylvania, it was learned that a party of about fifty French were prowling in the vicinity, and had announced their purpose of attacking the first English they should meet. Washington, at the head of fifty men, left the camp and went in search of the French, came upon their camp early in the morning, fought them a few minutes, killed ten, including the commander, Jumonville, and took twenty-two prisoners, with the loss of one killed and two or three wounded. The prisoners were sent to Williamsburg, and, at the same time, an urgent appeal for more troops was made. It was correctly surmised that as soon as news of the fight reached Fort Duquesne, a large force of French would be sent out to attack the English. Considerable reinforcements were raised and were advanced as far as Winchester; but, with the exception of an independent company from South Carolina under Captain Mackay, none of the reinforcements reached the Great Meadows where the whole force under Colonel Fry amounted to less than four hundred men.

The Indians had been friendly with the settlers on the western border up to this time; but the French having supplied them bountifully with presents, induced them to take up arms against the English, and henceforward the colonists had to fight both the French and the Indians. Of the two, the Indians were the more troublesome. They had a natural hatred for the English, who had dispossessed the tribes east of the Alleghanies of their land, and were now invading the territory west of that range. But it is difficult to see wherein they hoped to better their condition by assisting the French to gain possession of the country; for the French were as greedy for land as were the English. However, the majority of the natives could not reason far enough to see that point; and without much investigation they took up arms in aid of the French. One sachem, however, wiser than the rest, is reported to have stated the case thus: "If the French claim all the land on one side of the river, and the English claim all on the other side, where is the Indians' land?" His countrymen were too busily engaged in preparation for war to give any answer, and they joined the French and marched against the English.

After the brush with Jumonville's party, it was expected that the French in strong force would march from Fort Duquesne to drive back the English. Washington built Fort Necessity about fifty miles west of Cumberland, Maryland, and prepared for a fight. News was brought to him that large reinforcements from Canada had reached Fort Duquesne; and within a few days he was told that the French were on the road to meet him. Expected reinforcements from Virginia had not arrived, and Washington, who had. advanced a few miles toward the Ohio, fell back to Fort Necessity. There, on the third of July, 1754, was fought a long and obstinate battle. Many Indians were with the French. Washington offered battle in the open ground, but the offer was declined, and the English withdrew within the entrenchments. The enemy fought from behind trees, and some climbed to the top of trees in order to get aim at those in the trenches. The French were in superior force and better armed than the English. A rain dampened the ammunition and rendered many of the guns of the English useless. Washington surrendered upon honorable terms which permitted his soldiers to retain their arms and baggage, but not the artillery. This capitulation occurred July 4, 1754, just twenty-two years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The French and Indians numbered seven hundred men. Their loss in killed was three or four. The loss of the English was thirty.

When Washington's defeated army retreated from the Ohio valley, the French were in full possession, and no attempt was made that year to renew the war in that quarter, but the purpose on the part of the English of driving the French out was by no means abandoned. It was now understood that nothing less than a general war could settle the question, and both sides prepared for it. It was with some surprise, in January, 1755, that a proposition was received from France that the portion of the Ohio valley between that river and the Alleghanies be abandoned by both the French and the English. The latter, believing that the opportunity had arrived for driving a good bargain, demanded that the French destroy all their forts as far as the Wabash, raze Niagara and Crown Point, surrender the peninsula of Nova Scotia, and a strip of land sixty miles wide along the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic, and leave the intermediate country as far as the St. Lawrence a neutral desert. France rejected this proposition, and understanding the designs of the English, sent three thousand men to Canada. General Braddock was already on his way to America with two regiments; yet no war had been declared between England and France. The former announced that it would act only on the defensive and the latter affirmed its desire for peace.

When General Braddock arrived in America he prepared four expeditions against the French, yet still insisting that he was acting only on the defensive. One was against Nova Scotia, one against Niagara, one against Crown Point, and the fourth against the Ohio valley, to be led by Braddock in person. This last is the only one that immediately concerns West Virginia, and it only will bespoken of somewhat at length. In it Braddock lost his life.

Much was expected of Braddock's campaign. He promised that he would be beyond the Alleghanies by the end of April; and after taking Fort Duquesne, which he calculated would not detain him above three days, he would invade Canada by ascending the Alleghany river. He expressed no concern from attacks by Indians, and showed contempt for American soldiers who were in his own ranks. He expected his British regulars to win the battles. Never had a general gone into the field with so little understanding of what he was undertaking. He paid for it with his life. He set out upon his march from Alexandria, in Virginia, and in twenty-seven days reached Cumberland with about two thousand men, some of them Virginians. Here Washington joined him as one of his aids. From Cumberland to Fort Duquesne the distance was one hundred and thirty miles. The army could not march five miles a day. Everything went wrong. Wagons broke down, horses and cattle died, Indians harrassed the flanks. On June 19, 1755, the army was divided, and a little more than half of it pushed forward in hope of capturing Fort Duquesne before the arrival of reinforcements from Canada. The progress was yet slow, although the heaviest baggage had been left with the rear division. Not until July 8 were the forks of the Monongahela reached. This river was forded, and marching on its southern bank, Braddock decided to strike terror to the hearts of his enemies by a parade. He drew his men up in line and spent an hour marching to and fro, believing that the French were watching his every movement from the bluff beyond the river. He wished to impress them with his power. The distance to Fort Duquesne was less than twelve miles. He re-crossed the river at noon. This was July 9. The troops pushed forward toward the fort, and while cutting a road through the woods, were assailed by French and Indians in ambush. The attack was as unexpected as it was violent. It is not necessary to enter fully into the details of the battle which was disastrous in the extreme. The regular soldiers were panic stricken. They could do nothing against a concealed foe which numbered eight hundred and sixty-seven, of which only two hundred and thirty were French. About the only fighting on the side of the English was done by the Virginians under Washington. They prevented the slaughter of the whole army. Of the three companies of Virginians, scarcely thirty remained alive. The battle continued two hours. Of the eighty-six officers in the army, twenty-six were killed, and thirty-seven were wounded. One-half the army was killed or wounded. Washington had two horses killed under him and four bullets passed through his coat; yet he was not wounded. The regulars, when they had wasted their ammunition in useless tiring, broke and ran like sheep, leaving everything to the enemy. The total loss of the English was seven hundred and fourteen killed and wounded. The French and Indians lost about sixty in killed and wounded. Braddock had five horses shot under him, and was finally mortally wounded and carried from the field.

The battle was over. The English were flying toward Cumberland, throwing away whatever impeded their retreat. The dead and wounded were abandoned on the field. Braddock was borne along in the rout, conscious that his wound was mortal. He spoke but a few times. Once he said: "Who would have thought it!" and again: "We shall know better how to deal with them another time." He no doubt was thinking of his refusal to take Washington's advice as to guarding against ambuscades. Braddock died, and was buried in the night about a mile west of Fort Necessity. Washington read the funeral service at the grave.

When the fugitives reached the division of the army under Dunbar which had been left behind and was corning up, the greatest confusion prevailed. General Dunbar destroyed military stores to the value of half a million dollars and did not cease to retreat until he reached Philadelphia, where he went into winter quarters. The news of the defeat spread rapidly, and the frontier from New York to North Carolina prepared for defense, for it was well known that the French, now flushed with victory, would arm the Indians and send them against the exposed settlements. Even before the defeat of Braddock a taste of Indian warfare was given many outposts. With the repulse of the army at Braddock's field there was no protection for the frontiers of Virginia except such as the settlers themselves could provide. One of the first settlements to receive a visit from the savages was in Hampshire county. Braddock's defeated army had scarcely withdrawn when the savages appeared near the site of Romney and fired at some of the men near the fort, and the fire was returned. One man was wounded, and the Indians, about ten in number, were driven off. Early the next spring a party of fifty Indians, under the leadership of a Frenchman, again invaded the settlements on the Potomac, and Captain Jeremiah Smith with twenty men went in pursuit of them. A light occurred near the source of the Capon, and the Frenchman and five of his savages were killed. Smith lost two men. The Indians fled. A few days later a second party of Indians made their way into the country, and were defeated by Captain Joshua Lewis with eighteen men. The Indians separated into small parties and continued their depredations for some time, appearing in the vicinity of the Evans fort, two miles from Martinsburg; and later they made an attack on Neally's fort, and in that vicinity committed several murders. A Shawnee chief named Killbuck, whose home was probably in Ohio, invaded what is now Grant and Hardy counties in the spring of 1756, at the head of sixty or seventy savages. He killed several settlers and made his escape. He appeared again two years later in Pendleton county, where he attacked and captured Fort Seybert, twelve miles west of the present town of Franklin, and put to death over twenty persons who had taken refuge in the fort. The place no doubt could have made a successful resistance had not the inmates trusted to the promise of safety made by the Indians, who thus were admitted into the fort, and at once massacred the settlers. In 1758, the Indians again invaded Hampshire county and killed a settler near the forks of Capon. This same year eight Indians came into the country on the South branch of the Potomac, near the town of Petersburg, and attacked the cabin of a man named Bingaman. They had forced their way into the house at night, and being at too close Quarters for shooting, Bingaman clubbed his rifle and beat seven of them to death. The eighth made his escape. In 1759 the Indians committed depredations on the Monongahela river near Morgan town.

The settlement on the Roanoke river in Virginia, between the Blue Ridge and the Alleghany mountains, was the theater of much bloodshed in 1756, by Indians from Ohio who made their way, most probably, up the Kanawha and New River, over the Alleghanies. An expedition against them was organized in the fall of 1756, under Andrew Lewis who eighteen years later commanded the Virginians at the battle of Point Pleasant. Not much good came of the expedition which marched, with great hardship, through that part of West Virginia south of the Kanawha, crossed a corner of Kentucky to the Ohio river where an order came for them not to cross the Ohio nor invade the country north of that river. They returned in dead of winter, and suffered extremely from hunger and cold. This is notable from the fact that it was the first military expedition by an English speaking race to reach the Ohio river south of Pittsburg.

During the three years following Braddock's defeat, the frontier was exposed to danger. Virginia appointed George Washington commander in chief of all forces raised or to be raised in that state. He traveled along the whole frontier of his state, inspecting the forts and trying to bring order out of chaos. His picture of the distress of the people and the horrors of the Indian warfare is summed up in these words, addressed to the Governor of Virginia: "The supplicating tears of the women, and the moving petitions of the men, melt me with such deadly sorrow that I solemnly declare, if I know my own mind, I would offer myself a willing sacrifice to the butchering enemy, provided that would contribute to the people's ease." He found no adequate means of defense. Indians butchered the people and lied. Pursuit was nearly always in vain. Washington insisted at all times that the only radical remedy for Indian depredation was the capture of Fort Duquesne. So long as that rallying point remained, the Indians would be armed and would harrass the frontiers. But, in case the reduction of Fort Duquesne could not be undertaken, Washington recommended the erection of a chain of twenty-two forts along the frontier, to be garrisoned by two thousand soldiers.

In 1756 and again in 1757 propositions were laid before the government of Virginia, and also before the commander-in-chief of the British forces in America, by Washington for the destruction of Fort Duquesne. But in neither of these years was his proposition acted upon. However, the British were waging a successful war against the French in Canada, and by this were indirectly contributing to the conquest of the Ohio valley. In 1758 all was in readiness for striking a blow at Fort Duquesne with the earnest hope that it would be captured and that rallying point for savages ultimately destroyed.

General Joseph Forbes was given command of the army destined for the expedition against Fort Duquesne. This was early in 1758. He had twelve hundred Highlanders; two thousand seven hundred Pennsylvanians; nineteen hundred Virginians, and enough others to bring the total to about six thousand men. Washington was leader of the Virginians. Without him, General Forbes would never have seen the Ohio. The old general was sick, and his progress was so slow that but for the efforts of Washington in pushing forward, the army could not have reached the Ohio that year. A new road was constructed from Cumberland, intended as a permanent highway to the west. When the main army had advanced about half the distance from Cumberland to Fort Duquesne, Major Grant with eight hundred Highlanders and Virginians, went forward to reconnoitre. Intelligence had been received that the garrison numbered only eight hundred, of whom three hundred were Indians. But a reinforcement of four hundred men from Illinois had arrived unknown to Major Grant, and he was attacked and defeated with heavy loss within a short distance of the fort. Nearly three hundred of his men were killed or wounded, and Major Grant was taken prisoner.

On November 5, 1758, General Forbes arrived at Loyal Hanna and decided to advance no further that year, but seven days later it was learned that the garrison of Fort Duquesne was in no condition for resistance. Washington and twenty-five hundred men were sent forward to attack it. General Forbes, with six thousand men, had spent fifty days in opening fifty miles of road, and fifty miles remained to be opened. Washington's men, in five days from the advance from Loyal Hanna, were within seventeen miles of the Ohio. On November 25 the fort was reached. The French gave it up without a fight, set fire to it and fled down the Ohio.

The power of the French in the Ohio valley was broken. When the despairing garrison applied the match which blew up the magazine of Fort Duquesne, they razed their last stronghold in the valley of the west. The war was not over; the Indians remained hostile, but the danger that the country west of the Alleghanies would fall into the hands of France was past. Civilization, progress and religious liberty were safe. The gateway to the great west was secured to the English race, and from that day there was no pause until the western border of the United States was washed by the waters of the Pacific. West Virginia's fate hung in the balance until Fort Duquesne fell. The way was then cleared for colonization, which speedily followed. Had the territory fallen into the hands of France, the character of the inhabitants would have been different, and the whole future history of that part of the country would have been changed. A fort was at once erected on the site of that destroyed by the French, and in honor of William Pitt was named Fort Pitt. The city of Pittsburg has grown up around the site. The territory now embraced in West Virginia was not at once freed from Indian attacks, but the danger was greatly lessened after the rendezvous at Fort Duquesne was broken up. The subsequent occurrences of the French and Indian war, and Pontiac's war, as they affected West Virginia, remain to be given.

The French and Indian war closed in 1761, but the Pontiac war soon followed. The French had lost Canada and the Ohio valley, and the English had secured whatever real or imaginary right the French ever had to the country. But the Indians rebelled against the English, who speedily took possession of the territory acquired from France. There is no evidence that the French gave assistance to the Indians in this war; but much proof that more than one effort was made by the French to restrain the savages. Nor is the charge that the French supplied the Indians with ammunition well founded. The savages bought their ammunition from traders, and these traders were French, English and American. In November, 1760, Rogers, an English officer, sailed over lake Erie to occupy French posts further west. While sailing on the lake he was waited upon by Pontiac, who may justly be regarded as the ablest Indian encountered by the English in America. He was a Delaware captive who had been adopted by the Ottawas, and became their chief. He hailed Rogers on Lake Erie and informed him that the country belonged neither to the French nor English, but to the Indians, and told him to go back. This Rogers refused to do, and Pontiac set to work forming a confederacy of all the Indians between Canada on the north, Tennessee on the south, the Mississippi on the west and the Alleghanies on the east. His object was to expell the English from the country west of the Alleghany mountains.

The superiority of Pontiac as an organizer was seen, not so much in his success in forming the confederacy as in keeping it secret. He struck in a moment, and the blow fell almost simultaneously from Illinois to the frontier of Virginia. In almost every case the forts were taken by surprise. Detroit, Fort Pitt and Fort Ligonier were almost the only survivors of the fearful onset of the savages. Detroit had warning from an Indian girl who betrayed the plans of the savages; and when Pontiac, with hundreds of his warriors, appeared in person and attempted to take the fort by surprise, he found the English ready for him. He besieged the fort nearly a year. The siege began May 9, 1763, and the rapidity with which blows were struck over a wide expanse of country shows how thorough were his arrangements, and how well the secret had been kept. Fort Sandusky, near Lake Erie, was surprised and captured May 16, seven days after Detroit was besieged. Nine days later the fort at the mouth of St. Joseph's was taken; two days later Fort Miami, on the Maumee river, fell, also taken by surprise. On June 1 Fort Ouatamon in Indiana was surprised and captured. Machilimackinac, far north in Michigan, fell also. This was on June 2. Venango in Pennsylvania, near Lake Erie, was captured, and not one of the garrison escaped to tell the tale. Fort Le Boeuf, in the same part of the country, fell June 18. On June 22 Presque Isle, now Erie, Pennsylvania, shared the fate of the rest. On June 21 Fort Ligonier was attacked and the siege persecuted with vigor, but the place held out. It was situated on the road between Fort Pitt and Cumberland. On June 22 the savages appeared before the walls of Fort Pitt, but were unable to take the place by surprise, although it was in poor condition for defense. The fortifications had never been finished, and a flood had opened three sides. The commandant raised a rampart of logs round the fort and prepared to fight till the last. The garrison numbered three hundred and thirty men, More than two hundred women and children from the frontiers had taken refuge there.

Despairing of taken the fort by force, the savages tried treachery, and. asked for a parley. When it was granted, the chief told the commandant of the fort that resistance was useless; that all the forts in the north and west had been taken, and that a large Indian army was on its march to Fort Pitt, which must fall. But, said the chief, if the English would abandon the fort and retire east of the Alleghanies, they would be permitted to depart in peace, provided they would set out at once. The reply given by the commandant was, that he intended to stay where he was, and that he had provisions and ammunition sufficient to enable him to hold out against all the savages in the woods for three years, and that English armies were at that moment on their march to exterminate the Indians. This answer apparently discouraged the savages, and they did not push the siege vigorously. But in July the attack was renewed with great fury. The savages made numerous efforts to set the fort on fire by discharging burning arrows against it; but they did not succeed. They made holes in the river bank and from that hiding place kept up an incessant fire, but the fort was too strong for them. On the last day of July, 1763, the Indians raised the siege and disappeared. It was soon learned what had caused them to depart so suddenly. General Bouquet was at that time marching to the relief of Fort Pitt with live hundred men and a large train of supplies. The Indians had gone forward to meet him and give battle. As Bouquet marched west from Cumberland he found the settlements broken up, the houses burned, the grain unharvested, and desolation on every hand, showing how relentless the savages had been in their determination to break up the settlements west of the Alleghanies.

On August 2, 1763, General Bouquet arrived at Fort Ligonier, which had been besieged, but the Indians had departed, He left part of his stores there, and hastened forward toward Fort Pitt. On August 5 the Indians who had been besieging Fort Pitt attacked the troops at Bushy run. A desperate battle ensued. The troops kept the Indians off by using the bayonet, but the loss was heavy. The next day the fight was resumed, the Indians completely surrounding the English. The battle was brought to a close by Bouquet's stratagem. He set an ambuscade and then feigned a retreat. The Indians fell into the trap and were routed. Bouquet had lost one-fourth of his men in killed and wounded; and so many of his pack horses had been killed that he was obliged to destroy a large part of his stores because he could not move them. After a march of four days the army reached Fort Pitt.

The effect of this sudden and disastrous war was widespread. The settlers fled for protection from the frontiers to the forts and towns. The settlements on the Greenbrier were deserted. The colonists hurried east of the Alleghanies. Indians prowled through all the settled portions of West Virginia, extending their raids to the South branch of the Potomac. More than five hundred families from the frontiers took refuge at Winchester. Amherst, commander-in-chief of the British forces in America, was enraged when he learned of the destruction wrought by the Indians. He offered a reward of live hundred dollars to any person who would kill Pontiac, and he caused the offer of the reward to be proclaimed at Detroit. "As to accommodation with these savages," said he, "I will have none until they have felt our just revenge." He urged every measure which could assist in the destruction of the savages. He classed the Indians as "the vilest race of beings that ever infested the earth, and whose riddance from it must be esteemed a meritorious act for the good of mankind." He declared them not only unfit for allies, but unworthy of being respected as enemies. He sent orders to the officers on the frontiers to take no prisoners, but kill all who could be caught.

Bouquet's force was not large enough to enable him to invade the Indian country in Ohio at that time; but he collected about two thousand men, and the next summer carried the war into the enemy's country, and struck directly at the Indian towns, assured that by no other means could the savages be brought to terms. The army had not advanced far west of Pittsburg when the tribes of Ohio became aware of the invasion and resorted to various devices to retard its advance and thwart its purpose. But General Bouquet proceeded rapidly, and with such caution and in such force, that no attack was made on him by the Indians. The alarm among them was great. They foresaw the destruction of their towns; and when all other resources had failed, they sent a delegation to Bouquet to ask for peace. He signified his willingness to negotiate peace on condition that the Indians surrender all white prisoners in their hands. He did not halt however in his, advance to wait for a reply. The Indians saw that the terms must be accepted and be complied with without delay if they would save their towns. The army was now within striking distance. The terms were therefore accepted, and more than two hundred prisoners, a large number of whom were women and children were given up. Other prisoners remained with the Indians in remote places, but the most of them were sent to Fort Pitt the next spring, according to promise. Thus closed Pontiac 's war.

An agency had been at work for some time to bring about peace, but unknown to the English. It was the French, and without their co-operation and assistance it is probable the Indians would not have consented to the peace. DeNeyon, the French officer at Fort Chartres, wrote a letter to Pontiac advising him to make peace with the English, as the war between the French and English was over and there was no use of further bloodshed. This letter reached Pontiac in November while he was conducting the siege of Detroit, and its contents becoming known to his Indian allies, greatly discouraged them; for it seems that up to this time they believed they were helping the French and that the French would soon appear in force and fight as of old. When the Indians discovered that no help from France was to be expected, they became willing to make peace with Bouquet, and for ten years the western frontiers enjoyed immunity from war.

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