CONTINUANCE OF THE FRENCH AND INDIAN WARS, 1756—1765.
Boldness of the Savages after Braddock’s Defeat—-The Quaker Assembly Afraid to Alienate Savage Friendship—-Benjamin Franklin to the Front-— Col. John Armstrong’s Expedition to Kittanning—-Armstrong ordered to Occupy Raystown—-Recommends the Building of a Fort There—-Capt. Hamilton Visits Raystown—-Gen. Forbes’ Expedition—-A Fort Built at Raystown, also at Juniata Crossing—-Success of Forbes’ Campaign—-His Death—-First Mention of the Term Fort Bedford—-Peace With France—-Pontiacs War—-Capt. Ourry at Fort Bedford—-Expeditions of Cols. Armstrong and Boquet—- Pertinent Paragraphs—-Peace with the Indians-—First Opportunity for Permanent Settlers.
As mentioned in the previous chapter, the fall of 1755 found the Indians in full control of all that part of the province west of the Susquehanna. Their main body was assembled on that stream thirty miles above Harris’ Ferry (now Harrisburg), whence they extended themselves on both sides of the river to a point below the Kittatinny Mountains. The settlements of the Great Cove* in Cumberland county were destroyed. Many of the inhabitants were slaughtered or made captives, and Tulpehocken, Mahanoy and Gnadenhutten shared the same fate. By the middle of November the savages had entered the counties of Lancaster, Berks and Northampton, and some of the most venturesome even approached within twenty-five miles of the city of Philadelphia.
Meanwhile, the General Assembly of the Province—-largely composed of Quakers—-was indifferent and apathetic to a criminal degree, and despite the most earnest appeals of the suffering inhabitants, and the vigorous protests of Gov. Morris, its members contented themselves in discussing the question whether supplies should or should not be voted with which to defend the contracted frontiers. To illustrate—-when the Governor requested that men and means be supplied to "afford assistance to the back inhabitants," the assembly plead in excuse "that they feared the alienation of the friendship of the Indians." The cold indifference of the assembly at such a crisis finally aroused the deepest indignation. Public meetings were held in various parts of the frontier counties, at which it was resolved that they would march to Philadelphia and compel the authorities "to pass proper laws to defend the country and oppose the enemy." At last a chain of forts and block-
*The Great Cove formed part of Bedford county from 1771 to 1850. It is now embraced in Fulton County.
-houses was authorized to be erected along the Kittaninny Hills from the Delaware river to the Maryland line, near the Potomac. They were completed in February, 1756. About eighty-five thousand pounds were expended in their construction, and, commanding the principal gaps and passes of the mountains, each was garrisoned with from twenty-five to seventy-five provincials. Benjamin Franklin buckled on his sword, and, with his son William, raised over five hundred men. He proceeded with them to the frontier, and assisted in completing and garrisoning the chain of works mentioned.
In August, 1756, Gov. Morris was superseded by William Denny, but before that time, the former had authorized Col. John Armstrong to organize a force and march from Fort Carlisle via Fort Shirley (now in Huntingdon county) to Frank’s Town (now in Blair county), thence along the Kittanning Path, over the Alleghenies, and westward to the Indian town of Kittanning on the Allegheny, then termed the Ohio river. Kittanning was the stronghold of Capts. Jacobs and Shingas, the most active of the hostile Indian chiefs, and from whence they sent forth strong parties of warriors to scourge the frontier. With three hundred officers and men Col. Armstrong marched from McDowell’s on the 21st of August. On the 30th he moved from Fort Shirley, and on the 3d of September he joined his vanguard at the Beaver Dams, a point about two miles above the present town of Hollidaysburg. The march was resumed on the morning of the 4th, and by moving rapidly as well as with great caution, he was enabled to surprise his enemies in their town, at daybreak on the morning of the 8th. Led by the chief, Capt. Jacobs, the savages fought stubbornly and refused to surrender. As a result the town was destroyed by fire, Capt. Jacobs and thirty or forty of his followers were killed and the remainder of the band fled far to the westward of Fort DuQuesne. Of Armstrong’s force seventeen were killed, thirteen wounded, and nineteen reported missing. The successful termination of this expedition caused great rejoicing throughout the province. The corporation of Philadelphia addressed a complimentary letter to him and his officers, thanking them for their gallant conduct, and presented him with a piece of plate. A medal was also struck, having for device an officer followed by two soldiers, the officer pointing to a soldier shooting from behind a tree, and an Indian prostrate before him; in the background Indian houses in flames. Legend: Kittanning destroyed by Col. Armstrong, September the 8th, 1756. Reverse device: The arms of the corporation. Legend: The gift of the corporation of Philadelphia.
The destruction of Kittanning and the Indian families there was a severe stroke on the savages. The English had not till that time assailed them in their towns, and they fancied that they would not venture to approach them. But now, though urged by an unquenchable thirst for vengeance to retaliate the blow they had received, they dreaded that, in their absence on war parties, their wigwams might be reduced to ashes. Those of them who had lived at Kittanning, and had escaped the carnage, refused to settle again on the east of Fort DuQuesne, and in consequence placed that fortress and the French garrison between them and the English. Thus the territory for the settlement of those who acknowledged fealty to the British crown was widened, and again did the march of civilization move westward toward the Alleghenies.
Early in April, 1757, Gov. Denny ordered Lieut.-Col. John Armstrong, then in command of a battalion of eight companies of Pennsylvania troops, doing duty on the west side of the Susquehanna river, to encamp with a detachment of three hundred men near "Ray’s Town." "A well chosen situation," said the Governor in a letter to the proprietaries, "on this side the Allegheny hills, between two Indian roads,* the only known tract of the Indians to invade this province. He had further directions to employ spies, and send out ranging parties; by these precautions the inroads of the Indians might have been prevented, or their retreat cut off, which would probably have hindered future incursions. For this service, a few horses, some forage and a small matter of camp equipage are wanting. I cannot prevail on the commissioners to advance the necessary supplies, so that I doubt this expedition will miscarry for want of a trifling expense."
As foreshadowed in the Governor’s communication, Col. Armstrong did not move forward to Raystown, the necessary supplies not having been furnished him. He was at Carlisle on the 5th of May, where, on that day, in addressing a letter to the Governor, he used the following words:
*Meaning the "Kittanning Path" on the north and Nemacolin’s Trail" on the south.
***The Coming of the Chirokees and Catawbas appears to be a very favorable Providence, which shou’d in my opinion be speedily and properly emproved, as well for the Benefit of this as of others his Majesty’s Colonies, and prompts me to propose to your Honour what I have long ago suggested to the late Governor and Gentleman Commissioners, that is the Building a Fort at Ray’s Town, without which the King’s Business and the Country’s Safety can never be effective to the Westward. To this Place, were we there encamped or fortified, might the Southern Indians be brought frequently from Fort Cumberland, provided the Necessaries of Life and of War could there be given them; and from it might proceed Patroling Parties to spy, waylay, intercept, &ca which Dutys shou’d constantly or frequently be follow’d, while others might carry on the Building. ‘Tis true this Service will require upwards of 500 Men, as no doubt they will be attack’d if any Power he at Fort Duquesne, because this will be a visible, large, and direct Stride to that Place; but no doubt Colonel Stanwix will bear a party in Duty and Expence.
During the succeeding month (June, 1757) Capt. Hamilton led a scouting party from the fort at Carlisle to Raystown, but encountered no Indians. At the same time Capt. Dagworthy, the commandant at Fort Cumberland, Sent out a small party as far as "the Great Crossing of Yoxhiogeni," which also failed to discover any signs of the enemy. Yet, despite the warlike attitude of the English, nothing worthy of notice was done to annoy the French or to check the depredations of numerous small bands of savages, until a change of the British ministry, and the mastermind of Pitt, Earl of Chatham, assumed control of government.
In December Col. John Forbes, of the British army, was commissioned "Brigadier General in America to command his Majesty’s forces in the southern provinces." He assumed command early in the summer of 1758, and immediately began organizing an army much more formidable than that placed under Braddock three years before for the capture of Fort Du Quesne. His force (of which the general rendezvous was appointed at Raystown) was composed of three hundred and fifty Royal American troops, twelve hundred Scotch Highlanders, sixteen hundred Virginians, and two thousand seven hundred Pennsylvania provincials,—-a total of five thousand eight hundred and fifty effective men, besides one thousand wagoners. The two Virginia regiments were commanded respectively by Col. George Washington and Col. James Burd, but both under the superior command of Washington as acting brigadier. Under him, in command of one of the Virginia companies, was Capt. William Crawford, afterward one of the first justices of the peace of Bedford county, and a resident at the point known as Stewart’s Crossing, in the present county of Fayette.
The first movement of troops westward began by sending forward a small body of Pennsylvanians as pioneers to indicate the route of march, west of Raystown, by blazing trees. Regarding this movement Col. John Armstrong, in a letter addressed to Gov. Denny and dated at Carlisle July 20, 1758, said:
***The general has Sent my brother George to Reas’ Town, with Orders to take with him a hundred Men, in Order to find Out and Mark a Road from Reas’ Town as near to Fort Du Quesne as he can possibly go, leaving General Braddock’s Road & the Yohiogaine entirely to the left, and afterward to attempt a Scalp or Prisoner. I shall not mention my thoughts of the fate of those people in Case they approach near the Fort, as the Enemy doubtless will View them every Step from Reas’ Town.
Again, on the 23d of the same month, James Young, commissary of musters and paymaster general, in writing to Richard Peters, Esq., from Carlisle, spoke as follows:
Old Guest* came here Fryday night from Winchester, and Barney Hughes this day from Ray’s Town, who both agree that there are but 50 Indians at Fort Cumberland, and 80 at Raystown, which is all we have, tho’ they say more are expected dayly, how that may turn out time can only prove. By Express from Ray’s Town, 8 Indians and two of our Sold’rs had been in sight of Fort Du Quesne, where they scal’p a French Officer and give account they saw them Throwing up works round the Fort, saw Some Warriors Coming down the River, tho’ but few Indians about the Fort. Capt. Clayton and Ward have been out in search of a Road, and bring accts. that a much better than Braddock’s may be found from Raystown, in which Major Armstrong, with 100 men, was sent out on Fryday last to see if he agreead to the Same; the Virginians are making great interest that our Rout may be by Fort Cumberland, but I hope they will not succeed; ‘tis said that a 100 of our Provincials at Raystown are down with the flux, the other troops in proportion, almost all the Waggons and Pack horses are gone on; S’r John (meaning Sir John Sinclair, or St. Clair, as it was frequently written, the quartermaster general of the army and the same who accompanied Braddock’s expedition) setts of tomorrow for Raystown, escorted by a party of the light horse, Cap’tns Jackson and Eastburn are just come here
*Meaning, doubtless, that famous pioneer and frontiersman, Christopher Gist.
from Fort Augusta, and marches tomorrow for Raystown, under whose Escort I shall proceed with, the Military Chest, not chusing to wait longer for the Highlanders, their march being very uncertain, and our troops wants mony. I understand, that when the Gen’l getts to Raystown, 100 of the men, least able to march, are to be draughted and sent to Fort Lyttleton, D’o (ditto) to Loudon, 50 are left at Shippensburg, and 50 here; they are in high spirits at Raystown, and much in love with Col. Bucquet, all ready for a march, and only wait for the Gen. to lead them on; the Train of Artilliry left Shippensburg yesterday, here are about 350 Highlanders, with all the field Officers, and a Troop of Light horse.
The condition of affairs at Raystown at a subsequent date in the campaign is quite fully set forth in the following letter:
CAMP AT RAYS’ TOWN, 16th Aug’t. 1758.
D’r SIR: I have the pleasure to acknowledge the Receipt of Your Letter with the Commissions for Major & Lieu’t Colo., for which I am very much obliged to you. When I wrote to you about them from Carlisle, I beg leave to assure you I did not mean to impute any neglect to you. I have Shewn those Commissions to Colo. Bouquet, which was my Duty to do, that he might know my Rank in the Penn’a Regt, with which he was pleased. I think it absolutely necessary to take them with me, as many Circumstances may require me to produce them before the Campaign is over.
I find my Duty as Brigade Major keeps me continually employed, I am therefore prevented from writing so frequently & fully to my Friends as I intended.
It is very uncertain what number of Indians we shall have with us; it seems little Dependence can be put on any of them. I believe there have been above 150 Cherookees at this Place since the Army first formed a Camp here, but they have all left us except about 25 of them. Besides these we have Hambus & 3 Delaware Warriours who came 2 days ago from Fort Augusta, & 2 or 3 of the Six Nations, and Colo. Boquet expects Capt. Bullen (a Catawba Capt) with 30 of his Warriours to join us very soon. I understand they are to come from Winchester by the way of Fort Cumberland.
The Army here consists now of about 2500 men, exclusive of about 1400 employed in cutting & clearing the Road between this & Loyal Hanning, a great Part of which I suppose by this Time is finished, so that I am in hopes we shall be able to move forward soon after the General comes up who we hear is at Shippensburg on his way up. Colo. Montgomery, with part of his Battalion, is with him.
Colo. Washington & 400 of his Regiment have not yet joined us, nor has any of Colo. Burd’s (of Virginia) except 2 Companies.
We have a good Stockade Fort* built here with
*In the volumes composing the "Colonial Records" and "Pennsylvania Archives” this is the first evidence found of the existence of a fort at Raystown which, without a doubt, was erected by the advance guard of Forbes’ army during the months of July and August, 1758.
several convenient & large Store Houses. Our Camps are all secured with a good Breastwork & a small Ditch on the outside And everything goes on Well. Colo. Burd desires his Compliments to you.
I am very respectfully
Your most obedient humble Servant
I beg my Love to Mr. Allen’s good family.
To Richard Peters, Esqr., Philadelphia.
Again directing our attention to the movements of Gen. Forbes and the forces tinder his command, it appears that the Virginia troops rendezvoused at Winchester, while the Pennsylvanians, under Col. Boquet, assembled at Raystown. As indicated in Colo. Shippen’s letter and other communications, Boquet with the Pennsylvania provincials advanced to Raystown during the latter part of July. After the completion of the fort at this point, he was ordered forward with a column of about two thousand men to the Loyalhanna to cut out roads and to construct the fortifications afterward known as Fort Ligonier. Having ordered the Virginians under Colo. Washington and Burd to join him at Raystown, the commander-in-chief, with a strong detachment of regular troops, marched from Philadelphia, but in consequence of severe indisposition* Gen. Forbes did not get farther than Carlisle, when he was compelled to stop for a period of several weeks. He finally reached Raystown about the middle of September. Meanwhile Col. Boquet had completed the road to the Loyalhanna, and, perhaps thinking he could capture Fort DuQuesne with his advance division, before the arrival of the main body, and thus secure to himself the principal honor, sent forward a reconnoissance in force, consisting of eight hundred men (mostly Highlanders) under Maj. William Grant. This force reached a point in the near vicinity of the fort, where, on September 14, it was attacked by a body of about seven hundred French and a large number of savages, under command of a French officer named Aubry. Grant was defeated with a loss of two hundred and seventy-three killed and forty-three wounded, the Indians committing terrible atrocities on the dead and wounded Highlanders. Major Grant, the commander, and Major Lewis were taken prisoners. The
*Gen. Forbes seems never to have recovered front the effects of this illness and the exposures incident to the campaign, for he died at Philadelphia Sunday, March 11, 1759, and was buried with imposing military honors, held at Christ church, March 14.
French and Indians then advanced against Boquet, and attacked his position at Fort Ligonier, but were finally repulsed on October 12, and forced to fall back to Fort Du Quesne.
Gen. Forbes with the main body of his army arrived at Fort Ligonier early in November. A council of war was held, at which it was decided that on account of the lateness of the season and approach of winter (the ground being already covered with snow) it was "unadvisable, if not impracticable, to prosecute the campaign any further till the next season, and that a winter encampment among the mountains or a retreat to the frontier settlements was the only alternative that remained." But immediately afterward a scouting party brought in some prisoners, from whom it was learned that the garrison of Fort Du Quesne was weak, and the Indian allies of the French considerably disaffected. Thereupon the decision of the council of war was reversed, and orders were at once issued to move on to the assault of the fort.
The march was commenced immediately, the troops taking with them no tents or heavy baggage, and only a few pieces of light artillery. Washington with his command led the advance. When within about twelve miles of the fort, word was brought to Forbes that it was being evacuated by the French, but he remembered the lesson taught by Braddock’s rashness, and treated the report with suspicion, continuing the march with the greatest caution, and withholding from the troops the intelligence he had received. On the 25th, when they were marching with the provincials in front, they drew near the fort and came to a place where a great number of stakes bad been driven into the ground, and on these were hanging the kilts of the Highlanders slain on that spot in Grant’s defeat two months before. When Forbes’ Highlanders saw this they became infuriated with rage and rushed on reckless of consequences and regardless of discipline in their eagerness to take bloody vengeance on the slayers of their countrymen. They were bent on the extermination of their foes and swore to give no quarter, but soon after, on arriving within sight of the fort, it was found to be indeed evacuated and in flames, and the last of the boats in which its garrison had embarked were seen in the dim distance passing Smoky Island on their way down the Ohio.
Thus, after repeated attempts, each ending in blood and disaster, the English standard was firmly planted at the head of the Ohio, and the French power here overthrown forever. On the ruins of Fort Du Quesne another work was constructed—-a weak and hastily built stockade with a shallow ditch—-and named " Fort Pitt" * in honor of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham. Two hundred men of Washington’s command were left to garrison it, and the main body of the army returned eastward over the same route by which the advance had been made. Gen. Forbes proceeded at once to Philadelphia, where, as before stated, he died in March, 1759.
Although, as a result of Forbes’ expedition, the French were driven beyond the borders of the province, many of their Indian allies continued hostile and harassed the frontier settlements of New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia for several years thereafter. Hence, in keeping open the line of communication between Carlisle and Fort Pitt, the forts at Shippensburg, London, Littleton, Juniata,* Bedford* and Ligonier were each garrisoned with a force of from one hundred to three hundred men. Besides the regularly enlisted soldiers, there also gathered at each post various camp followers, including army sutlers, Indian traders, innkeepers, artisans, washwomen, etc. Numbers of them remained permanently in the vicinity of the forts named, established "tomahawk" claims, and in consequence became the first settlers of their respective neighborhoods.
Toward the close of the year 1762 a treaty of peace between England and France was concluded, but it was not proclaimed in Philadelphia until January 26, 1763. Peace with Spain soon followed, leaving the inhabitants of Pennsylvania none but Indian enemies to contend with. Even these had been in a measure placated, and the long-suffering people on the border were just beginning to congratulate themselves upon a general restoration of peace, and consequent immunity from savage attack and massacres, when "Pontiac’s War" burst upon them. During the summer of 1763 the savages in great numbers attacked Forts Pitt, Ligonier,
*The new and substantially constructed Fort Pitt was commenced in August, 1759, and completed during the fall of that year by a force under the command of Gen. John Stanwix.
*The stockade work of defense at the "Juniata Crossing" was erected by Forbes’ troops in the summer of 1758.
*The fort at this point, formerly termed Ray’s Town, was first mentioned as Fort Bedford in a letter from Gen. John Stanwix to Gov. Denny, dated "Camp at Fort Bedford, the 13th August, 1759."
Bedford and other fortified positions, but being repulsed, they broke up into small predatory bands and left naught but death and desolation over a wide region of the province.
In June of that year they murdered "sundry families near Bedford." In speaking of that affair, William Plunkett, in a letter (of date June 20) addressed to Col. Shippen, Jr., said: "The gentlemen at Bedford seem to be of opinion that the design of the Indians may end in dispersing some inhabitants out of their unpurchased lands. Whether their cruel rage will end there I don’t pretend conjecture, but must take liberty to wish that the poor, scattered, defenseless inhabitants on the frontiers of this colony were put into some posture of defense, for I can safely say from my own knowledge, that their present situation discovers them an easy prey to their enemies."
On the 25th of June, Gen. Jeff. Amherst, then stationed at New York, as the commander-in-chief of the English forces in America, addressed a letter to Gov. Hamilton, of which the following is an extract:
SIR: As it now appears from the Intelligence received from all Quarters that the Indians seem determined to push their Depredations, owing, I suppose, to some advantages they have gained over Straggling parties of Traders, and false hope of the Detroit and upper posts being cut off, I think it my Indispensible Duty once more to renew my Instances with you, to lose no time in calling your Assembly, and pressing them to enable you to raise with the utmost Dispatch a Body of Men to be employed in the Defense and protection of the Frontiers.
Capt. Ourry writes me that there are many of the Inhabitants near Bedford, who are ready to enter in the Provincial Service. Should you be enabled to issue Commissions, which I hope you will be, no time should be lost in sending proper Orders for recruiting those Men, as well as for forwarding any others that may enlist, as fast as raised, to the communication above.
I find Mr. Croghan has very judiciously engaged twenty-five Men to Garrison Fort Littleton, and I make no doubt but the Province will readily defray the Expence of those Men, so long as it may be judged necessary to continue them.***
In accordance with Amherst’s suggestions, Gov. Hamilton, on the 11th of July, directed Col. John Armstrong to organize a battalion of frontiersmen for immediate service, and concluded his communication as follows:
On the recommendation of Capt. Ourry, at Fort Bedford, I have promised Commissions to the following Gentlemen now doing duty as Volunteers at Bedford, viz.; Christopher Lewis,* John Procter, capts; Philip Baltimore, Charles Riger, lieuts; Wm. Yaxley, Robert Swancey, ensigns; which Commissions, with a proportion of the Advance Money, I desire you will either deliver to the said Capt. or forward to them as you shall think best, as soon as may be. I also desire you will give a Commission of Capt. to James Piper, at present lieutenant to Col. Work’s Company, whose place in that Company I will supply as soon as the Vacancy is made known to me.
Col. Armstrong collected a force of about three hundred volunteers from the vicinity of Bedford, Shippensburg and Carlisle for the purpose of attacking the Indian settlements at Muncey and the Great Island. This little army left Fort Shirley, on the Aughwick, on the 30th of September, in high hopes of surprising the enemy and inflicting upon them a severe punishment. But on their arrival they discovered that the Indians had left their settlement some days before. Col. Armstrong then pushed on with a party of one hundred and fifty men to the Indian village called Myonaghquia, and traveled with such expedition and secrecy that the enemy, a few only in number, were scarce able to escape, leaving their food hot upon their bark tables, which was prepared for dinner. The army destroyed at this village and at Great Island a large quantity of grain and other provisions.
Meanwhile Forts Pitt and Ligonier remained in the most hazardous condition, for though the Indians dared not assault those works openly, they surrounded them, and most effectually cut off all communication even by message. All exertions proving fruitless to raise the requisite number of provincial forces, Gen. Amherst ordered Col. Henry Boquet to move forward to the relief of Fort Pitt. Boquet’s force consisted of the shattered remnants of the 42d and 72d regiments, scarcely five hundred men in all, and lately returned from the West Indies, and six companies of ranger’s from Lancaster and Cumberland counties, amounting to two hundred men. Reaching Carlisle, Col. Boquet found that nothing had been done to carry out the orders which had been given to prepare a convoy of provisions on the frontiers. All was terror and consternation; the greater part of Cumberland county through which the army had to pass was deserted; and the roads were filled with panic-stricken, dis-
* This officer’s name has at times been written Limes. He it was who caused to be built, and who owned, the stone structure on Pitt street, now owned and occupied by Adam B. Carn.
tressed families flying from their settlements, and destitute of all the necessaries of life. However, in about two weeks after his arrival at Carlisle, the requisite materials were procured and the army marched westward.
Fort Ligonier was at this time surrounded by savages, and fears were entertained of its falling into their hands. It contained a large quantity of military stores, and it was a matter of great moment to keep it from being captured by the Indians. Apprehensive of this, Capt. Ourry, in command at Fort Bedford, had already sent twenty volunteers, good marksmen, to its aid. Learning of the perilous situation of Fort Ligonier, soon after his departure westward from Carlisle, and fearing the savages might capture it, and thereby be enabled, from the munitions of war that they would obtain there, to make a more vigorous attack on Fort Pitt, and likely demolish it before he could reach it, Boquet sent forward a party of thirty men, with guides familiar with the region, who, by avoiding Forbes’ route, and making skillful and forced marches, succeeded in finding their way through the forests, undiscovered by their wily enemy till they came within sight of the fort, when they were intercepted by the Indians, but by making a determined dash reached the fort, amidst some random shots, unhurt.
Fort Bedford, also, at this time, was in a ruinous condition and feebly garrisoned, although its force had been strengthened by those who had held the small intermediate posts named Loudon, Littleton and Juniata, which bad been abandoned for that purpose. The families for twenty and thirty miles around had collected here for safety as soon as the alarm had reached them, but many, indeed, had not reached the fort when they found themselves pursued by the merciless enemy, with whose hands some forty persons were killed and scalped, besides numbers carried off into hopeless captivity. Apparently satisfied with this slaughter, the savages made no attack on Fort Bedford, happily for those within it, for the attempt might have proved successful, there being but few men to defend it, until it was reached by two small companies of riflemen detached from the approaching army.
Boquet, with the major portion of his forces, reached Fort Bedford on July 25, and proceeded thence over the mountains to Fort Ligonier. Everything was yet in uncertainty respecting affairs at Fort Pitt, and the troops again continued their route. Before them lay the Turtle Creek hills, a deep and dangerous defile. Familiar with the topography of the country ahead of him, Col. Boquet concluded to pass these during the night by a forced march, as an advantageous position there might be chosen by the savages to waylay his command. Approaching these hills on August 5, after a march of seventeen miles, and it being yet early in the afternoon, it was determined to halt at Bushy Run (or, as it is sometimes termed, Brush Creek, which is found in the western part of the present county of Westmoreland), a short distance ahead, and there rest the troops till toward evening, and pass the Turtle Creek defile during the ensuing night; but when within about a half-mile of the creek, the advance-guard was attacked by a large body of Indians lying in ambush. The battle thus commenced continued during the remainder of the afternoon and through the greater portion of the following day. The Indians fought with their wonted ferocity and cunning, but were finally defeated with great loss, and fled precipitately beyond the Ohio. These were the savages who, instigated by Pontiac, had besieged Fort Pitt for a period of more than three months. In the engagement Boquet lost about fifty men killed and sixty wounded.
During the summer of 1764 another expeditionary force was organized in the settlements west of the Susquehanna, which, under the command of Gen. Boquet, marched via Forts Bedford, Ligonier and Pitt to the "Muskingham Country." He defeated the savages in several encounters, and caused them to sue for peace. Of those who accompanied him on this expedition as company commanders were Capts. James Piper, William Piper and William Proctor, gentlemen who were afterward very prominent as citizens of the county of Bedford. In June, 1765, however, peace between the Indians and the English was effected by "Sir William Johnson, baronet, his Majesty’s sole agent and superintendent of Indian affairs in the northern department of North America, etc., etc., etc." As a result, the first real settlement of the territory beyond musket range of Forts Bedford and Juniata, and within the present boundaries of Bedford county, took place immediately thereafter.
Gen. Henry Boquet was born in Rolle, canton of Berne, Switzerland. In 1765 he was
assigned to the command of the southern department, where he contracted a fever, and died at Pensacola in the autumn of that year.
(Source: History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania, Waterman, Watkins & Co, 1884, pp. 42-49.)
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