The French and Indian army at Loyalhanna was under command of De Vitri. He began battle almost immediately on their arrival. The firing began about eleven o�clock in the forenoon and lasted four hours. The battle was fought on or near the ground where is now the town of Ligonier. The army at Ligonier numbered twenty-five hundred on its first arrival from Bedford; but nearly three hundred were lost in Grant�s fiasco, leaving only about twenty-two hundred. But it is probable that some advance companies from Forbes� army at Bedford had by October 12, reached Ligonier, though there is no record of that the writer can find. Bouquet was not present at the battle, but was stuck in the mud at Stony Creek, now in Somerset county, near the present town of Stoystown. Colonel James Burd commanded the forces in Bouquet�s absence.
The enemy during the battle was probably on lower ground than Burd�s troops, though the location is not clearly outlined in the reports. It is known, however, that Burd was on the ground preparing for the coming of the enemy, and that he was easily way enough to entrench his army on high ground and allow the enemy to attack him. He was also preparing to erect or was already erecting a fort, and it is likely that the army was encamped near the site selected for its location. The enemy coming from Fort Duquesne came, of course, from the west, but as they approached the camp at Ligonier they veered their course so as to approach from the southwest and gave battle at once on their arrival. They undoubtedly approached from this direction rather than from the west, to more thoroughly surprise the camp. The French made but little impression on the army during the four hours� fighting in the afternoon. They renewed the attack after nightfall, but Colonel Burd stormed the woods in which the French and Indians were concealed, with shells from the mortars, and they were soon glad to retreat. That Burd and his army did not follow them up and capture them is evidence that they were well satisfied to allow them to retreat. Yet Forbes� army with its provisions had not arrived, and the commissary may have been too weak to support a captured army. The loss in the army of Ligonier was twelve killed and fifty-five wounded. The loss in the French army is not known, and the small loss to the British is perhaps why the accounts of the battle are so meagre. A letter written by Captain Burd to his wife, the original of which is now in the possission of the Historical Society at Philadelphia, may be of interest here. It is as follows:
Camp at Loyalhanna, 14 October, 1758
My Dear Love:
I have just time to acquaint you that the French army, consisting of 1200 French and 200 Indians commanded by Monsr. De Vitri attacked me on Thursday, the 12th, at 11 A.M. with great fury until 3 P.M., at which time I had the pleasure to see victory to the British Army I had the honor to command. The enemy attempted on the night of the 12th to attack me a second time, but in return for their most unmelodious Indian music, I gave them a number of shells from our mortars which made them retreat soon. Our loss on this occasion is only 63 men and officers, killed, wounded and missing. We have only buried ___ of our dead and six of the enemies. The French were employed all night carrying off their dead and wounded, and I am apt to think carried off our dead through mistake.
I received your last letter wherein you hoped I might obtain my wish to our taking Duquesne. We shall try it soon.
I am hearty, and with great regard my dear Sall your ever and affectionate husband, I am,
Forbes� army had mostly arrived at Loyalhanna by November 1st, and Forbes, himself arrived November 6th. In the meantime, Burd, Bouquet and Washington began to build a fort, or place of deposit, for on every had were the signs of winter. Laurel Mountain and Chestnut Ridge, both in full view of the camp, were covered with snow, and a council of war was held. The concensus of opinion was that with little knowledge of the country intervening between the army and Fort Duquesne, with the terrible lesson which the army had learned by Grant�s foolharady expedition, with no road cut except the path over which Grant had traveled, and with winter coming on, it would be unwise to attempt to march an army that distance. Forbes and his army had consumed fifty days in marching from Bedford to Loyalhanna, a distance of about fifty miles. He had been so reduced by the journey that much of the way he was carried on a litter. The outlook was so gloomy that Washington says, an abandonment of the expedition was contemplated. �Vast as were the preparation,� says the historian Bancroft, �Forbes would never, but for Washington, have seen the Ohio.� At all events, a fort and winter quarters seemed necessary, and its construction was, therefore, pushed forward as rapidly as possible, and Forbes and Bouquet named it Fort Ligonier, after Sir John Lord Ligonier, under whom they had served in the British army. The place of deposit and so much of the fort as was completed were at once used, and the army set about to prepare winter quarter to remain in until the breaking up of winter. But just then several stragglers from De Vitri�s army were taken and valuable though not entirely reliable information concerning the weakness of the enemy was gained. Furthermore on November 12, the command ran across another squad of De Vitri�s men who were yet lurking around Fort Ligonier. They were attacked, one of the killed, and three were taken prisoners. One of the prisoners proved to be an Englishman who had been taken from his home in Lancaster county by the Indians. His testimony concerning the weak condition of Fort Duquesne corresponded entirely with that of the prisoners. It was therefore resolved to push rapidly forward to try to capture it.
Before leaving Ligonier a circumstance occurred which needlessly involved Washington in great danger, and this may as well be related here. To quote from his own words (Scribner�s Monthly Magazine, May, 1894, p. 537): �The enemy sent out a large detachment to reconnoitre our camp and to ascertain our strength; in consequence of our intelligence that they were within two miles of the camp, a party commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Mercer, of the Virginia line, a gallant and good officer, was sent out to dislodge them. A severe conflict and hot and hot firing ensued, which lasting some time and appearing to approach the camp, it was believed that our party was yielding the ground, and upon which, with permission of General Forbes, I called for volunteers and immediately marched at their head to sustain our troops. Led on by the firing until we came within less than half a mile of the enemy and the firing ceasing, scouts were detached to investigate the cause and to communicate with Colonel Mercer, our troops advancing slowly in the meantime. But, it being near dark and the intelligence not having been fully disseminated among Colonel Mercer�s corps, they took us for the enemy, who they supposed were approaching from another direction. Mercer�s troops commenced a heavy fire on ours and drew fire in return; in spite of all the exertions of the officers one officer and several privates were killed and many wounded before a stop could be put to it. I was, in accomplishing this, never in more imminent danger, being between two fires and knocking up with my sword the presented forces.�
The late Dr. William D. McGowan tried to ascertain the location of this battle, for he regarded it as of great interest that in his last years Washington, with the memory of all the dangers of the Revolution, indeed, of a life of warfare fresh upon him, should calmly write that his imminent danger was here in Westmoreland county. Dr. McGowan was of the opinion that it occurred on the bluffs northwest of Idlewild.
In preparing for the hard march on Fort Duquesne the army was divided into three brigades. One of the brigades was under the command of Colonel Washington, and it was his duty to open up the road. It must be remembered with great pride by Westmorelanders that it was here in this county that Washington was first placed in actual command of a brigade. This promotion came to him at Ligonier in November, 1758. After him came Colonel Armstrong with about one thousand men to assist in opening the road. They opened up the western part of what has since been known as the forbes road. Its location in the main is not a matter of conjecture, for a journal of it was kept, which was sent to the British War Office in London. This journal is now in the possession of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia. The road across Westmoreland, as shown by this document, is published for the first time in the map accompanying these pages. The journal is labeled �General Forbes� Marching Journal to the Ohio,� and is signed, �John Potts.� Briefly outlined, the road took the same general direction from Bedford to Westmoreland that was later taken by the Harrisburg and Pittsburg turnpike. It crossed over Laurel Mountain from Somerset county into Westmoreland, on a line almost parallel with the pike, but was from one to two miles north of it. It crossed the crest of the mountain and came down the western slope, and crossed Laurel Run near the Penrod place, and near Willow Grove schoolhouse. From there it took the dividing ridge as near as possible between the brooks that flow into Mill creek and those that flow southward into the Loyalhanna, and came westwardly to Loyalhanna, where they encamped, and afterwards build Fort Ligonier. Thus far there is no dispute as to its location. It has always been supposed that it bore off toward the north from Fort Ligonier and crossed Chestnut Ridge in the direction of Millwood, and then crossed the southwestern part of Derry township, and crossed the Loyalhanna at Chchran�s crossing (or ford) about two and one-half miles below � that is, north of Latrobe, and that it then journeyed almost directly west to the present Hannastown settlement and thence to fort duquene. But the �Journal� proves clearly that such was not the route taken. If this document may be relied upon he crossed the Loyalhanna a few rods below Fort Ligonier near the present iron bridge on the road leading from Ligonier to Donegal. From the bank of the Loyalhanna he journeyed southward through the present Valley cemetery until he passed around the hill west of Ligonier, where he again turned westward, passing over the Withrow farm, south of the Fry farm, to the Two Mile Run, and crossed both it and the four Mile Run and over the Chestnut Ridge in a comparatively straight line, going west and bearing slightly to the north in the direction of Youngstown. After crossing the Nine Mile Run he passed out of that locality and journeyed northward and westward. From the time he left the Nine Mile Run he kept on the dividing ridge between the waters which flow north into the Loyalhanna and those which flow south into the Sewickley and into the Turtle creek. He passed up the Brush Creek valley and out of Westmoreland near Murrysville, and when nearing the Allegheny river he bent his course southwardly, passing Shannopinstown, and thence to Fort Duquesne. Each day�s journey is marked on the map, the eighth bringing him to Fort Ligonier, and the fourteenth to Fort Duquesne. These days represent the daily marches of Forbes, not those of the brigades which opened the road. The army was twelve days in making the road from Ligonier to Fort Duquesne.
That Forbes crossed to the south of the Loyalhanna at Ligonier, and not at Cochran�s Crossing, has been disputed by high authority on Western Pennsylvania history. Aside from the �Journal,� which we regard as proof positive that it crossed at Ligonier, there are two other reasons which confirm strongly if not positively the accuracy of the journal. The first is that the brooks which flow into the Loyalhanna from the south were named Two Mile Run, Four Mile Run, Nine Mile Run and Fourteen Mile Run, their numerals representing their distance from Fort Ligonier. These names are shown on all early maps, and are used by all early writers on the subject, indicating strongly that the early traveling was across these streams, while the streams flowing into the Loyalhanna from the north, which would have been crossed had Forbes road gone the other way, have modern names which in no sense connect them with Fort Ligonier. And, moreover, it is difficult to see why these streams should have borne such names at all unless they were crossed by the line of early day traveling, namely, by the Forbes Road. They were not named by travel on the State road, for it did not go near Fort Ligonier, and the fort was abandoned before the State road was built. Standing at Ligonier one can readily see why the sharp bend to the south was necessary after crossing the Loyalhanna, for a high hill to the west prevent the army from taking that course directly. By the southern bend they avoided the hill. That the draft corresponds exactly with the peculiar topography of the country is a strong evidence of its accuracy. We are, therefore, from this evidence forced to conclude that the Forbes Road crossed the Loyalhanna at Ligonier, and never crossed it again.
Though nearly a century and a half has passed away since that damp chilly November when the road was made, yet in some places it can be followed by its original cuts and embankments, and in many places is yet used as a public road. For nearly a half a century it was the principal highway between the east and the west. It was made about twelve feet wide, and the object being only to make a temporary military way it was very hurriedly constructed, particularly, for obvious reasons, after it passed west of Ligonier. The army was twelve days in constructing the road and in marching from Ligonier to Fort Duquesne, a distance of fifty-six miles. Notwithstanding the rumors about the weakness of Fort Duquesne the army moved westward with great caution, allowing the enemy no opportunity to repeat the surprise of Braddock and Grant. There were a few friendly Indians with them, and these and some more daring British were used as scouts in all directions.
On Friday, November 24, these forerunners saw the smoke arising from the burning barracks of Fort Duquesne. De Lignery was in command of the fort. He, too, had scouts out, and from there as well as from the actual contest at Ligonier on October 12 he knew that a defense of the fort was impossible. Most of his forces took boats down the Ohio river, having first destroyed most of the provisions and set fire to the fort. The British army was then about Turtle creek, not far from the unfortunate defeat of three years previous. General Forbes, seeing the smoke, sent swift riders forward to extinguish the flames and save everything of use to them. Some supplies were saved, but the fort was almost entirely consumed. The main army arrived at the dismantled fort on Saturday, Novermber 25th. Sunday, the 26th, was by special orders observed as �A day of public Thanksgiving.� Rev. Charles Beatty, Chaplain of Colonel Clapham;s Pennsylvania regiment, preached that morning the first Protestant sermon west of the Allegheny Mountains. Beatty was a Presbyterian. On Tuesday following a large detachment was detailed to bury the dead of Braddock�s army and to perform a like service to the dead of their own army on Grant�s Hill.
Now over the smoking ruins of Fort Duquesne no longer floated, with its lillied emblem, the banner of France; in its place was the proud English standard. Colonel Hugh Mercer was left in charge with a force of two hundred men. General John Stanwix, of England, succeeded General Forbes, and on September 3rd, 1759, a new fort was begun. It was named Fort Pitt, in honor of William Pitt. Around it clustered a few log cabins, and these have now grown into the wealthiest and most powerful city in the world for its size. The historian, George Bancroft, has very beautifully referred to the monument thus erected to the memory of the great English premier, in the following language: �As long as the Monongahela and the Allegheny shall flow to form the Ohio, as long as the English tongue shall be the language of freedom in the boundless valley which their waters traverse, his name shall stand inscribed on the Gateway of the West.�
The fort was abandoned and fired by De Lignery because of its weakness as compared with the approaching army. General Shirley had been successful in northern New York, and the French from that stronghold could not support him. Hence his abandonment of the fort.
General John Forbes was born in Scotland. Though educated for the medical profession, he when very young entered the English army and became a lieutenant in the Scots Dragoons. He won the highest praise from his general, Lord Ligonier, and other superior officers, and was quartermaster general in the army of the Duke of Bedford. He was about forty-eight years old when he reached America. It is said that when the tide of affairs was against him he swore most violently, but this was a very common vice among the European generals of his age. All through the American campaign just described he suffered intensely from a general breaking down of his system. From Fort Duquesne he was carried all the way to Philadelphia in a litter borne by horses, and part of the way by men. On March 13, 1759, he died, at forty-nine years of age. His body lies buried in the chancel of Christ�s Church in Philadelphia.
An incident important in the life of Washington which grew indirectly out of this campaign may well be related here. The Virginia forces which were assembling at Winchester preparatory to marching against Fort Duquesne were sadly in need of arms, tents, etc. Washington was finally ordered to Williamsburg to lay their condition before the council with the hope of securing further aid. He set off promptly on horseback. In crossing the Pamunkey river on a ferry, he fell in with a Virginia planter named Chamberlain, who lived near by and who, with the old-time Virginia hospitality claimed Washington as his guest. Washington pleaded the urgency of this trip to Williamsburg, but finally consented to remain for dinner. Among the guests at Chamberlain�s was a charming young widow, Mrs. Martha Custis, a daughter of John Dandridge, a patrician of Virginia. Her husband had been dead about three years and had left her a large fortune. She was of fine form, dark eyes and hair, with frank engaging manners. It is believed that Washington had never met her before because of his absence on the frontier for several years. Washington had ordered his servant, Bishop, to have his horses ready to resume their journey promptly after dinner. The horses pawed at the door, but for once their master loitered in the path of duty and remained with the host until the following morning. But though his stay was necessarily brief, his time was well improved, for even yet before he journeyed westward with his troops they had mutually plighted their faith, and they were married immediately at the close of the campaign (January 6, 1759).
As we have seen, the main reason the citizens of Pennsylvania so greatly desired that Forbes should cut his way through our province was, that this territory of western Pennsylvania might thus be opened up for new settlers. Braddock�s expedition had, it is true, opened up a way, but his ignominious defeat and the increased hostility of the Indians which followed it had retarded rather than facilitated the settlement of our western border. Immediately following Forbes� army came, therefore, the first real settlers of the territory now known as Westmoreland county. The Pennsylvania and Virginia soldiers of this army were largely disbanded in the early part of 1759. Many of them with their families immediately started west in pursuit of new homes. Many, it is true, pushed on west to the Ohio valley. Those who stopped here settled mainly along the Forbes road. Some, indeed, never returned with Forbes at all. Some of them settled without any right on choice land which they expected to secure and own by right of occupancy. To others was granted land by way was called military permits, to which we will refer further on.
The entire country was then overrun by Indians and it was but natural that the first settlers in our county should build log cabins around Fort Ligonier, for there was an established military post with a guard varying from twenty to one hundred men, under Lieutenant Lloyd, to guard this part of the frontier and keep the road open. After the few families which thus established themselves within gunshot of the fort, first came Andrew Byerly in 1759. His land warrant is No. 36, and is for two hundred and thirty-six acres and allowance. It was located in the Brush Creek valley, on the Forbes road, about twenty-five miles west of Fort Ligonier, and about seven miles northwest of Greensburg. He built a log dwelling house, and kept it also as a stopping place for those who traveled back and forth over the Forbes road. In a year or two he had several neighbors who, like himself, were carving homes out of the dense wilderness. One of these was Christopher Rudebaugh. This was fourteen years before the formation of the county, and they were virtually within the legal dominion of Cumberland county. Their lands, as will be seen later on, were not patented to them: they were at first merely squatters, with perhaps a show of title from the commander of the fort.
The French and Indian War was settled. There had been a treaty made at Easton in 1754 between the Delawares, the Shawnees and the white settlers, and, as the Indians claimed and the Pennsylvania authorities always admitted, the white settlers had cheated the Indians, who, being ignorant of geography, had ceded more territory by their treaty than they had meant to part with. This in a high degree, increased the dangers of our pioneers and induced the Indians to unite with Braddock�s army. As a result the years from 1755 to 1761 were at best years of great Indian troubles. Nevertheless, many settlers came from the east.
In 1763, the whole western border was plunged into a most deadly Indian warfare. This was due mainly to an Indian leader named Pontiac and its history is best told by Francis Parkman in his most entertaining work, entitled �Pontiac�s Conspiracy.� He was chief of the Ottawas, and his tribe at this time centered near Detroit. He had fought with the French at Braddock�s defeat. He was bold and daring, and had wonderful power, not only in his won tribe but over all Indians with whom he came in contact. He was, of course, urged on by the French, but aside from this his foresight and real though misguided ability gave him a particular grievance against the English settler, viz.: that their whole tendency and aim was to drive the Indians from their homes farther west and to forever destroy their hunting grounds. Parkman rates Pontiac as pre-eminently endowed with courage, resolution and Indian eloquence, and, moreover, as the ablest leader the American Indians ever produced. �He could govern,� says Parkman, �with almost despotic sway a race unruly as the winds, and his authority was derived chiefly from the force of his own individual mind.� Urged on by the French, he carried on an inhuman warfare against the white settlers in western Pennsylvania, and extending as far east as Carlisle, but the western settlements felt his severest blows. He had a powerful organization composed of warriors from each of the Six Nations.
There was no warning, either, for one of his many strong points was his ability to overrun a community before the settlers knew of his presence. Fort Pitt was in one night absolutely surrounded and cut off from all outside communications or supplies. Moreover, it was in great danger of falling, though the English had boasted that after so much bloodshed in its capture it should forever remain in their possession. Pontiac in a few days had devastated every settlement and surrounded each fort and blockhouse as far east as Bedford. It times of Indian incursions the settlers and their families left their homes and sought refuge in the forts, stockades and blockhouses. Sometimes the roads leading to these places of safety were crowded with frightened women and children.
Pontiac particularly aimed his forces against Fort Ligonier. Here were collected provisions and ammunition. These were sent from Bedford, and thence by pack-horses under military guard to Fort Pitt, which had no other means of supply. If then Fort Ligonier fell into the hands of the Indians, Fort Pitt would soon be forced to surrender or starve. During this war Ligonier was under to command of Lieutenant Blane, a most excellent officer, while Captain Ourry had command of Bedford. Had these three forts fallen, the entire western frontier would have been at the mercy of the Indians. Fort Pitt was commanded by Captain Ecuyer, with a weak force which Pontiac�s Indians, under Guyasutha, of the Seneca tribe, hoped to starve out.
In the meantime word was sent out from Ligonier and Bedford to Carlisle, asking Bouquet�s army to come to their relief. But this would require weeks of marching over two ranges of mountains. The greatest fear pervaded the inmates of the Fort at Ligonier. It had, furthermore, large quantities of military stores ready to be sent to the relief of Fort Pitt. If the Indians could secure these, all else would be lost and the settlements of the west laid waste. Fort Ligonier had already been attacked, and failing to take it they tried to fire it by shooting arrows with inflamable substances attached, over the stockade, to the combustible buildings inside. Through the alertness of Captain Blane the attack was withstood and the fire many time extinguished. At this time Captain Ourry of Bedford, came to the relief of Fort Ligonier by weakening his own garrison, which, being nearer Carlisle and Philadelphia, where soldiers were always stationed, was stronger than either of the other forts. He selected twenty riflemen, all strong young men, accustomed to the hardships incident to frontier life, and directed them to make their was as rapidly as possibly over the mountains to Ligonier. They could not come by the Forbes Road, for that was particularly watched by the Indians. They struck out through the mountains, and very soon appeared on the hillside east of the fort, doubtless on what is now East Main street, or between that and the fort. Then a still greater danger confronted them, for, being unheralded, they dare not approach the fort lest they be mistaken for the enemy and fired on by those whom they sought to relieve. But when partly concealed by bushes, and while creeping nearer the fort, they were discovered and fired on by the Indians who surrounded it, and with this certificate of good faith were recognizes by the ever-watchful garrison, who not only opened the gates to receive them but protected them by firing on their pursuers. This relief came none too soon. The force was nearly exhausted with fighting, though they had plenty of provisions, ammunition and water. No one dared for weeks to leave the stockade. Domestic animals suffered to wander outside were killed by the besiegers. It was almost a continuous skirmish, and many Indians, with a few French Canadians urging them on, were killed. Blane formed two companies, each composed of soldiers and citizens who had come there from the community for safety, drilled and armed the citizens, and they willingly did watch duty day and night.
In the meantime Colonel Bouquet, after eighteen days delay incidnet to such expeditions � for it must be remembered that the community around Carlisle was also overrun with Pontiac�s Indians � was hastening to their relief. Carlisle was loath to give up its protection. The town was filled with settlers who had flocked there for safey. Bouquet�s mission was not an inviting one. His way lay over the mountians, and except for the narrow road cut by Forbes was for the main part through an almost trackless forest. Before him in the wilderness lay the bones of Braddock�s army, and these dead in number far exceeded his little army. The main army of the colonies was even then fighting in the northern frontier. His forces were parts of the Forty-second and Forty-seventh regiments, which had recently landed in Philadelphia from the West Indies, where they had been fighting the Spaniards. The Bouquet army numbered less than five hundred, but sixty of them were in ambulance wagons, and these he hoped would be recovered far enough to do post duty and relieve the forts on the way. Nor did his soldiers know anything about Indian warfare save what he taught them as they marched westward. But the brave Swiss Colonel was a most excellent teacher, for he was ever a match for the shrewdest Indian warriors.
Not knowing Ourry ahd relieved Ligonier from Bedford, Bouquet sent thirty men on a rapid and most hazardous march to relieve Captain Blane. They made the march and entered the fort much as did Ourry�s men, viz.: under the ineffectual fire of the enemy. All the way Bouquet saw many signs of Indian incursions but he say no Indians. They even murdered and captured families with a few miles of his army, but never showed themselves to him. He meant to give battle to them at Bedford, for in that vicinity their depredations indicated their presence in large numbers, though they had not attacked the fort because of its well known strength. But when he arrived there was no army to be seen nor fought. He reached Bedford on July 25th, when he recruited his forces by inducing thirty backwoodsmen to accompany them. He reached Ligonier August 2nd. His arrival again brightened up the drooping spirits of the fortress. He left at Ligonier much of his heavier baggage, and with small wagons and packhorses carried forward only such provisions as were necessary for his army and for the immediate relief of Fort Pitt, which, like Carlisle, Bedford and Ligonier, was filled to overflowing with the frightened families of the pioneers, and who were moreover reported to be almost starving. He rested at Ligonier on August 3rd and on the 4th marched westward by the Forbes road which he had helped to make five years before. The first day they marched about nine miles, crossing Chestnut Ridge, and camped west of the Loyalhanna. On august 5th, they hoped to reach Bushy Run, nineteen miles away, and it is said by Francis Parkman that they meant to rest only during the heat of the day and then push on thirteen miles farther, passing the dangerous ravines east of Turtle Creek by night time, fearing an attack should they pass by day. The country through which they were marching was hill, apparently intended for the lurking Indian, whose strength lay in ambuscades and surprises. They resumed their march at daylight on the mornign of August 5th, and, though the weather was very warm, by one o�clock the tired and thirsty band was nearing Bushy Run, having traveled seventeen miles. Blane had added to Bouquet�s army at Ligonier what soldiers he could spare from the fort, and he was joined by some civilians who were in the fort for safety. Among the latter was Andrew Byerly and several of his neighbors. His forces now amounted to about five hundred and he had about three hundred and fifty heavily laden pack-horses.
A tall dense forest spreading for countless miles around covered the hills and deep hollows. Byerly and his pioneer neighbors were in front, when suddenly the sharp rattle of musketry, mingled with the Indian yelping, sounded through the woods. The rear pushed up to support the advance of the army, but the firing only increased. The fire was returned, for a few Indians could be seen, and on these a general charge with fixed bayonets was ordered. This very soon cleared the ground, but only temporarily, for it almost instantly burst out in the rear, which showed Bouquet that his convoy of supplies was attacked. The troops at once fell back, drove the Indians away, and formed a cirlce around the terrified pack-horses. The attacking party was Guyasutha, heading a band of Indian warriors that he had collected from as far east as Laurel Hill and from around Fort Pitt. They knew the ground well, and fought from every possible place of concealment. The regular soldiers and Scotch Highlanders, though not accustomed to such warfare, inspired by the skillful commander, stood up bravely and resisted them in splendid shape. Again and again bands of Indians, now on one side, then on the other, would rush toward the circle, trying to break in. They were fired at and regularly chased back by bayonets, but escaping behind trees with great activity, very few of them were killed. The British suffered more, for they were less accustomed to bush-fighting, and necessarily had to remain at one place to guard the convoy. Thus the fight was carried on for seven hours without intermission, and only ceased when the forest was darkened by the approach of night. Then the soldiers camped for the night in the same position they had occupied all afternoon, with sentinels in every direction. Thirst had quickened their march at one o�clock, when the word had been passed around that they were nearing Bushy Run. But now the surrounding enemy forbade their moving from the higher ground, and not a drop of water was to be found there. Bouquet wrote that their �thirst was more intolerable than the enemy�s fire.� Night was perhaps more horrible than day. Bouquet himself was doubtful whether his army could survive the contest which he knew the rising sun would bring him. He therefore wrote an account of the day�s doings to Sir Jeffrey Amherst, and closes with these words: �Whatever our fate may be, I thought it necessary to give your Excellency this early information, that you may, at all events, take such measures as you think proper with the provinces, for their own safety, and the effectual relief of Fort Pitt; as, in case of another engagement, I fear insurmountable difficulties in protecting and transporting our provision, being already so much weakened by the losses of this day, in men and horses, besides the additional necessity of carrying the wounded, whose situation is truly deplorable.�
About sixty of his men and several officers had been killed and wounded. A place in the centre of the camp, surrounded by flour bags, was prepared for them, but shots were fired against them nearly all night. With the earliest dawn of morning the battle was renewed from all sides at once, and except that it was more furious, it was fought very much like that of the day before. This was kept up until about ten o�clock, when the fertile mind of the commander (and it is said on the urgency of Byerly) �conceived a masterly strategem.� He knew that if the enemy coud be brought and held together he could easily whip them. He knew, too, that from their increased audacity, the enemy thought Bouquet was about to surrender. So he ordered two companies which formed part of the circle to fall back to the central part of the camp, while the remaining circle spread out to fill up the gaps made, apparently to cover the retreat of the two companies. The line forming the circle was also drawn in because of their fewer numbers. The Indians, as was intended, mistook this for a retreat, and, bloodthirsty for a rich harvest of scalps and provisions, with furious yells rushed headlong towards the circle. But below the circle there was a depression in the ground, covered with a thick growth of trees, which concealed it from the Indians, who were swarming around the circle. Through this depression these two companies rapidly ran, and very soon came around behind the furious assailants and opened fire on them. The Indians thus surprised, and many of them killed at the first fire, stood their ground until the Highlanders, with yells as wild as their own, fell on them with bayonets. As was expected, they could not withstand a charge with bayonets, and gradually lost ground. But, while the charge was in progress, bouquet, with the eye of a soldier, seeing the direction the Indians must flee when overcome, had concealed two other companies taken from other parts of the circle, in the bushes, with orders to await the approach of the enemy. Pressed by the terrific Highlanders, now maddened with hunger and thirst, they soon passed directly in front of the two companies, concealed in the bushes. These arose and fired squarely into them, and then charged with bayonets. This completed the rout and the four companies united drove them flying down the hill, firing as rapidly as possible, but giving the Indians no time to reload. Many were killed, and the remainder of this division were scattered in hopeless confusion.
While this took place a smaller body of Indians had maintained a steady contest and about an equal one, with those who still guarded the other side of the circle, but, when they saw their comrades flying in disorder through the woods, and saw the victorious troops advancing to attack them with bayonets, they lost courage and ran. In a few minutes all was quiet, and not a living Indian was left on the ground. There were sixty dead ones, however, and among them were several prominent chiefs and warriors, and the blood stained leaves showed that many more of those who fled were badly wounded. The British took but one prisoner, whom they immediately shot like a wild beast. Bouquet�s loss was eight officers and one hundred and fifteen men, undoubtedly greater than that of the enemy. The first battle lasted seven hours, the second about six. The weakened army moved only to Bushy Run that afternoon, where they encamped for the night. During the march to Fort Pitt, twenty-four miles, they were annoyed more or less by small attacks, but reached their destination without further severe loss. Though the contestants were nearly equally matched as to numbers, Bouquet had fewer troops than the enemy. The Indians never fought with more fury, and were equalled only by the valor of the Highlanders. A great deal has been said and written about this battle. The consensus of opinion in history is that it was one of the ablest contested battles ever fought in America between white men and Indians. It was fought on and near the land of Andrew Byerly, about twenty-six miles from Fort Ligonier, and about eight miles northwest from Greensburg.
Colonel Henry Bouquet was born in Switzerland in 1720, and almost from his boyhood was a soldier, first as a cadet, and then under the King of Sardinia. Next he enlisted in the Holland Guards, after which he was made lieutenant-colonel of the Swiss Guard (1748). In 1754, he was made lieutenant-colonel of a regiment organized by the Duke of Cumberland for service in the American colonies, and came to America in 1755. He was fond of society, and became a great favorite in Philadelphia, where he was stationed. His personal appearance was commanding and dignified. He, though a Swiss, wrote the English language with an exactness much superior to the average foreign officers of his day. Naturally he was full of resources in times of emergency, and was without the arrogance of many of the officers of his time. Unlike Braddock, he almost intuitively acquired a practical knowledge of Indian warfare. No soldier in America of foreign birth so distinguished himself in this direction as he. Often, when necessary, he penetrated dark ravines in advance of his men, armed with a rifle and playing the role of a scout. The year following the battle of Bushy Run he organized a force which set out from Fort Pitt and invaded the Indian country as far as the Muskingum valley in Ohio. He baffled the savages at every point, and so chastised them that they were glad to sue for peace. The rusult was the �Treaty of Bouquet� (1764). The assembly of Pennsylvania and the Burgesses of Virginia adopted addresses of gratitude and recommended him to His Majesty, King George III, for promotion. He was accordingly made a brigadier-general and sent to British America in charge of the English armies, where he died suddenly in 1767. It was on this second expedition (1764), that he built the now famous block house of Pittsburgh, a cut of which is here given.
Guyasutha, commanding the Indians at Bushy Run, was a chief of the Senecas, and with him were members of the Ohio tribes. He, too, was a strong warrior, though by no means so powerful as Pontiac. He was a real savage, without mercy, and never made peace save when compelled to. When Washington made his famous trip to Venango (1753), Guyasutha accompanied him as a guide. Washington thought kindly of him, and paid him a visit at his house in 1770, when on his way to the Ohio, at which time he says the chief treated him with great kindness.
Source: Page(s) 1 - 32, History of Westmoreland County, Volume I, Pennsylvania by John N Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906.
Transcribed June 1999 by Marilyn O'Leary for the Westmoreland County History Project
Contributed by Marilyn O'Leary for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/westmoreland/)
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