The Cornplanter Chronicles
Vol. 4 Part 7
BY HAROLD THOMAS BECK
It was on March 29, 1797 that the State of New York finally settled all Mohawk claims
to lands in the state. Many, by right of winning the Revolutionary War and the fact that
the Mohawk had fought on the losing side in the war, felt that to the victor belonged all
the spoils of war. However, at the urging of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, the
governor of New York begrudgingly formed a commission to study the claims. Joseph Brant
was to have represented the Mohawk Nation.
The negotiations were bitter. Several of the commissioners had lost family to the
Mohawk raids early in the war. In particular it was the Fort Hunter Mohawks who had been
the bloodiest and most ruthless and it was claimed that they still held women hostage at
that time across the border in their town on the Grand River.
Even as claims to the lands were established by deeds given to the Mohawk from the
crown and dated well in advance of the war, payment for those lands became a problem. Not
so much the amount of payment, but rather the currency to be used in payment.
The State of New York insisted using the newly minted American Dollar as the medium of
exchange. Brant and his people had little use for the money they considered worthless,
especially when the British would inevitably mass an enormous army and invade, thus
re-establishing English rule in the former colonies. Brant and his people insisted that
the English Pound be used in payment for any and all claims that were to be settled. That
would become the standard mode of payment for all Indian lands. In the end, the Mohawk
were paid seven hundred pounds for all lands formerly held south of the Mohawk River.
However, Brant was not the exclusive negotiator for the Mohawk Nation. Like the Seneca
to the south, the Mohawk had divided in two distinct parts and followed different
leadership. John Deseronto acted as the agent and chief negotiator for the Quinte Mohawks.
The Quinte Mohawks were disillusioned with the leadership of Brant for many years. The
actual break took place toward the end of the war when Brant took obvious orders from the
British Generals and cost the lives of many of the braves under his leadership. It was in
a key engagement when the Quinte left the field of battle and returned to protect their
women and children who were exposed to a rear attack by Cavannaugh, one of the bloodiest
American Colonels in the field at that time. They arrived just as the Americans were
poised to strike at the unprotected town. Even with the returning braves entering into an
immediate battle, the artillery pieces began raining their fiery shot down on women,
children, and old people. Nearly half the town was lost before the Americans were forced
to withdraw. They blamed Brant for this loss and never again would the Mohawk be united as
It was for that reason, if the claims of the Mohawk were to be settled, then it was
necessary for the governor to deal with both parts. That proved to be easier said than
done. Deseronto refused to be in the same room with Brant. He repeated called Brant
"a woman who betrayed his people." He constantly attempted to goad Brant into a
confrontation. Brant would have no part of it. In the end, after the process took much
longer than it should have, an agreement was reached.
Brant and Deseronto both received 600 pounds for their expenses and work. Apart from
what the Fort Hunter Mohawk received, the Quinte were given one thousand pounds for any
and all claims they may have held at that time. Unless the land was specifically excluded
by deed and description, all claims were forever surrendered.
Even though the negotiations were exclusively between the Mohawk and the State of New
York, Cornplanter wisely sent his brother, Handsome Lake, to observe and report back to
him the outcome of the negotiations. The Seneca had many claims along the Genesee River
and across the western part of the state. He knew it would be necessary for New York to
commence negotiations with the Seneca as soon as those with the Mohawk were concluded.
Trusting his brother to bring him the results, Cornplanter prepared himself.
Joseph Brant remained in New York after the negotiations were concluded. He was careful
to immediately return to the western part of the state where feelings were not so intense
and not so many old grudges were held. His travels brought him to the home of Thomas
Morris, the son of the famed Revolutionary War financier, Robert Morris. The home was
located on the north end of Canandaigua Lake. It was while he was a guest at the younger
Morris home, that a delegation from the Seneca arrived to negotiate for the conveyance of
lands. That delegation was headed by Cornplanter and Red Jacket. Their presence made
Neither Thomas or Robert Morris understood the historic animosity between the Seneca
Chiefs and Brant. They stupidly believed that Brant could be of help to them in
influencing the less articulate and more primitive leaders of the Seneca. Instead of
understanding this, they offered Brant six hundred and fifty pounds to help in the
proceedings. It was understood that the payment was nothing more than a bribe so that
Brant would convince the Seneca that they were being dealt with fairly. However, the
Seneca were not as stupid as the Morrises wanted to believe.
To complicate matters, Brant, after drinking wine with dinner, told a story about Red
Jacket that incensed the chief to the point that he called the Mohawk a liar and drew a
knife. The story dealt with Red Jacket imploring his men to go into battle to kill the
approaching Americans. While he was able to inspire them and they went off and fought
bravely, Red Jacket, according to Brant, stayed back and killed the cows of the warriors
who were off fighting. Only Cornplanter kept Red Jacket from killing Brant right then and
there. But the damage was done and the Seneca withdrew from the table and would not speak
with the land speculators until the Mohawk was sent away. When they asked Brant to return
the money they had paid him, he refused. He left that night and went on to Niagara where
he still owned a house.
Cornplanter, meanwhile, was encouraged by the twist of events. The Morrises were at a
disadvantage. While they were acting on their own behalf, they were also negotiating for
and with the approval of the Governor of New York. They could not afford to have anyone
know what transpired and they made no issue over the bribe they had stupidly paid Brant.
Meanwhile, with the aid of Jeremiah Morrison, Cornplanter was able to establish a
comparative scale so that he could use what had been paid to the two Mohawk factions for
their land as a ruler to measure what the lands of the Seneca might be worth.
At the same time Cornplanter also established the price of what his services were
worth, as well as the services of the other men with him. While he had bargained away the
lands he held in Pennsylvania for the right to his own lands and being allowed to stay,
Cornplanter was determined
to be compensated on an equal basis with Joseph Brant once and for all after all those
years. What should have been concluded shortly after dinner in April, would take until
September of that year (1797) to be finally consummated with the treaty of Big Tree.
On that day it was Cornplanter and Red Jacket who acted on behalf of the Seneca Nation.
For five thousand English Pounds to be paid out over a ten year period directly to
Cornplanter or the legal successor to him, the Seneca relinquished all claims to lands
held in the State of New York except for those lands specifically excluded by deed and
description. That included all of Grand Island and the lands along the Genesee River.
Cornplanter was paid one thousand pounds for his work, while Red Jacket and five other
chiefs were paid Six hundred and fifty pounds. Cornplanter was ceded a large tract of land
that encompassed both sides of the Allegheny River (inadvertently spelled Allegany in the
agreement), that remains Seneca land even to this day.
With that concluded, the Morrises then attempted to prevail upon Cornplanter to help
them negotiate for the lands along Lake Erie which extended from the Pennsylvania State
Line to the Ohio border and all the way to Sandusky Bay. This, they told him, would be a
direct service to George Washington.
To that Cornplanter replied: "I will serve the Great White Father and I will
expect to be paid for that service."
They assured him that he would and with that, he went with them and opened negotiations
with the tribes in Ohio.
Vol. 4, Part 6
BY HAROLD THOMAS BECK
Morrison and Cornplanter went months without speaking of the past. Morrisons
memory of the chief talking of the beginning of the war for America between the French and
the English only served to make him thirst for more information. He wanted to know how it
was that the French lost the continent.
Really, Cornplanter told Morrison. The French looked upon the Indian nations
as equals. They saw us as a source of trade. The English saw us as property. Slaves to do
their bidding and pay homage to their king. We were one step below their colonists because
we were not white and we had claim to the land that they said was theirs.
The Council of the Six Nations favored the British. Even our Seneca brothers to the
north looked to them for favor and gifts. We were alone in our support of the French. We
saw them as less of a threat than the British. We saw them as a buffer between us and the
British. As opposed as we were to the British, the Mohawk were just as opposed to the
French. They looked to them as the means to control the Algonquin who had raided down from
Canada for hundreds of years. Now, it seems a good choice on their part, just as it was a
good choice on our part. Ours, it would seem, was the better of the two because we still
live on our lands and they have been driven from theirs.
Morrison recognized Cornplanters wisdom. He also noted the arrogance in
his voice and his self congratulations on making the best choice for his people.
Just when we thought the French had the situation under control and the British
forced back to the coast, General Braddock arrived with two regiments of 500 men each. The
Virginians were constructing a new fort where Wills Creek joined the Potomac River.
They called it Fort Cumberland and it would be garrisoned by three thousand men. They
immediately began building a road over the mountains from that place in the direction of
Braddock received over 1000 wagons and teams of horses from Benjamin Franklin and the
farmers in eastern Pennsylvania. They were to be used to transport his supplies west to
support the attack on the French. At the same time, as he prepared to attack Fort Duquesne
in the west, plans were drawn up under his direction to attack Fort Niagara from Oswego,
Fort St. Frederic at Crown Point on Lake Champlain, and the fortress at Lewisbourg on Cape
Breton in Nova Scotia.
Morrison marveled at the mans recollection and his knowledge of geography.
William Johnson was made a General and given the responsibility of overseeing all
Indian affairs in America. He answered directly to Braddock and the King. In affairs
concerning Indian nations, he did not report to the governors. It made him, after
Braddocks death, the most powerful Englishman in the new land.
It was Johnson who sent Mohawk scouts to assist Braddock. They were originally intended
just to look over the strength of the British, but Washington prevailed on them to act as
scouts for the army as it advanced through the forest. That had several effects.
Immediately the Onondaga were outraged. The Mohawk were acting in support of the
British without the approval of the Council of the Six Nations. They were more vulnerable
to attack from both the French and the British and had wanted to remain apart from any
conflict or war between the whites. The actions of Scarroyaddy, the Mohawk War Chief, left
the way open for the British and forced the Council on their side against the French.
While Warraghiyagey, leader of the northern Seneca, joined in with the Mohawk in their
support of the British, Kiasutha, my uncle, as head of the southern Seneca, kept us apart
and friendly with the French. When Mohawk scouts went to assist Braddock, my uncle sent me
to lead 500 braves and fight with the French. From that day on in the late winter of 1755,
the Iroquois League began to crumble. The Onondaga would turn against everyone and the
Seneca would stand alone. We would be forced to turn back attacks by the Mohawk and the
British for the next twenty years.
When we joined the French at Fort Duquesne, the nations to the west were already there.
Ottawa, under Pontiac, were raiding the country side and were killing the settlers and
burning their land. The French, who claimed to be Christians, left them and the other
tribes, mainly Delawares, Chippewas, Potawtomies, Hurons, and Shawnees. The Mingo, who
were native to the lands surrounding the rivers, had no choice but to join, but preferred
to be with the Seneca and give over to my command. We refused to join in the killing of
women and children, nor would we take them captives and defile them. Instead, we objected
to the French commandant, and said that we were prepared to fight the enemy, but not act
Morrison remembered that as fierce as the Seneca had been in battle, captives,
particularly women and children, were treated well. Generally, they became part of the
tribe, or were released after a time in a place near to other whites. The women were not
abused in any manner. Even the slaves, while forced to work along side the Seneca women in
the fields, were not raped or mistreated in any way. He understood Cornplanters
disgust for what the French were allowing to take place.
Braddock came with his Mohawk braves. He had fifty of them and even though William
Johnson had said it was necessary that they lead him, they did not know the land. They
were as blind as he was and were not used to the density of the forest and the steepness
of the mountains. They did nothing to help him.
Braddock divided his forces. He dispatched Colonel Dunbar and Lt. Colonel Gage to take
a large force and march on Fort Duquesne. It took them twenty-seven days to reach the
Monongahela River at Turtle Creek. The army of men had forged on ahead of the supply
train. Meanwhile, Washington also moved ahead of the supply train and made for Great
Meadow and the place of his embarrassing defeat the previous year. Braddock kept twelve
hundred soldiers with the wagons and slowly made his way across the mountains. I was at
Great Meadow with my warriors waiting. The French had fortified the positions they held
the year before with cannon pieces aiming down on the valley. The British expected us to
be at Fort Duquesne.
As the British attacked the fort, Indian sharpshooters drew down on them from the
woods. Their lines of calvary and their marching men fell under a rain of fire so deadly
that nothing was left standing. Most of the officers were struck down and the men fell
back to the river and attempted to cross. There they took their greatest losses Huron and
Shawnee warriors had crossed the river and were cutting off the retreat. There was no
escape. Those who were not killed were taken prisoner.
We allowed Washington to pass through Great Meadow and descend into the valley.
Braddock was not far behind. We wanted Braddock in the trap and Washington caught between
us and the forces coming to join us from Fort Duquesne. We did not count on Washington
ability to stay in touch with Dunbar. When he learned of the total defeat across the
Monongahela, he withdrew with the intention to rejoin Braddock. As we began our attack,
Washington was within ear shot. He came on to join the battle.
It was chaos. Wagons were burning. Horses were stampeding and men were caught in a
deadly crossfire coming in from three sides. The avenue of escape had been cut off and had
not Washington joined in, all would have been killed. Instead, Washington drove through
the valley and attacked the Ottawa who were holding the eastern escape route. He was able
to break through. When he did, he attacked back into the center of the battle and
attempted to lead the survivors out. Braddock was everywhere. Horse after horse was shot
out from under him. He led several assaults up the hill at my position and was turned back
each time. It seemed as if he was protected. No shot hit him. Then finally, as he turned
to retreat the last time, he was hit through the shoulder and knocked to the ground. A
second shot tore a hole in his side. His men picked him up and carried him off.
Washington led them to high ground. There he established order and laid out picket
lines around the perimeter. We waited until morning to attack them but they slipped away
in the night. With the battlefield littered with bodies of over one thousand men, we had
many spoils available to us and we allowed them to escape. It had been our victory, but
the other tribes would have stripped the bodies and taken the weapons. They were
In all, only 459 men would survive. The British would lose over 2500 including
If the war had only been fought in the mountains of the western frontier, the French
would still be in control of the land. It was not. While we gave the French a great
victory, they suffered great losses in Canada. It was there that they lost the war and
were forced to withdraw. The French withdrawal was the beginning of the end of a way of
life that had existed for thousands of years. It would mark the beginning of the westward
push by the white man and the expulsion of the Indian nations. If they stayed a fought,
they were destroyed.
Then Cornplanter looked at Morrison. He looked deep into the eyes of the white man.
When he spoke, Morrison was taken back by the words; but at the same time understood them
I should hate not only your people, but you, also. It would be easy for me to hate
all white men. I have seen the white men act more as savages to the Indian than any Indian
has acted toward a white. I am old. I am tired. I am all Indians and natives to this land.
We are all old and tired. We have lands. We have game. We have life. We must learn new
ways and new lives if we are to continue. For that, we all should hate you. But hate is
something that we cannot afford because we cannot waste our energy on hate. We cannot
waste on drop of our energy. We must live and change with the world around us. If we do
not, we will never be able to stand the weight of the white man.
With that said, Cornplanter begged leave from his friend. Once more Morrison left
with much to consider.
Vol. 4, Part 5
BY HAROLD THOMAS BECK
Cornplanter loved remembering his battles as a
young man. Jeremiah Morrison loved listening to the stories. He was not even born when the
French and the British battled for the continent. This was his first-hand account of how
history was made. As he listened to Cornplanter talk of those days, it was almost as if he
was there. Even Cornplanters narrative was such that he told a story of people who
lived the events; not from his minds-eye view of the events.
I was in love with a beautiful maiden. She was the daughter of my uncles best
friend. I had asked for her to be my wife. I had made the gifts of the horses to her
mother. She gave them to Tall Elk, her husband. That meant I could take her as mine. It
was spring and the snows melted.
Her name was Bright Morning Star.
"Venus," Morrison thought to himself.
She was not like the other Seneca women. She looked like a white woman. She was tall
and she was slender. Her hair was long and it was not straight. It had waves like the
water. All the men wanted her. She became mine.
Cornplanter told Morrison how he had to leave before their wedding.
My stepfather sent me to the French at Fort LeBoeuf weeks before my wedding. The
affairs of the nation were more important than the desires of one brave. My presence was
necessary. The British were sending men to the area. We were not at war with the British;
but we were allied with the French and because they were enemies, we kept our presence
Morrison asked how it was that the Seneca were allied with the French and the other
Iroquois tribes with the British.
The French left us alone. They stayed out of our lands. Their two forts, Presque
Isle and Le Boeuf, were on the edge of our lands in the old lands of the Erie which were
forbidden to us by the council. It was an old curse cast on us when we killed the peaceful
people over a fight between two women. I live in Erie lands today, but I have taken the
curse away through my deeds. The French, and then the British, had done no deeds to take
the curse away. They are all gone. Be warned, the same could happen to the white men of
the United States.
I was twenty then. I met with Captain Henri Marin and Captain Chevalier Pean.
Morrison marveled at the mans memory. Forty-five years later he still remembered
the commanding officers of Fort Le Boeuf.
It was my duty to cement the alliance between my people and the French. My
stepfather and the other chiefs did not trust the British and their promises. They
especially did not trust the Mohawk who had long coveted the lands of the Seneca. If the
Mohawk would ally with the British, we would ally with the French. I stayed with them all
of the summer in 1753 and acted as an interpreter between Marin and Pontiac. He was a
stubborn chief who resisted and also was to become an ally like the Seneca and many other
Cornplanter reflected for a moment.
The war was not lost here in the west. It was lost far away in Europe and in Quebec.
Had the French fought on in the west, we would have prevailed. We would have controlled
the frontier regardless of what happened in other places. That was not to be. Even though,
it was a good and fierce war. Many brave men fought and died. Their spirits are honored by
the memories I hold of them and give to you.
Marin grew sick with the European fever. He grew weaker by the day and in October,
died. Pean took command of the men. There were 1,200 of them and the fever was striking
them one at a time. The strong were able to overcome it. The weak died. Even I had a brush
with it but it was not able to take hold of me. I was strong and in a week I returned to
my people. There my bride waited for me. We were married the night of the full moon.
I took great comfort in her softness and her beauty. She loved me very much and I her.
She had a touch that made me feel more of a man than I had ever felt before. I could not
leave her side without feeling the pain of separation. It was a new feeling to me. Then I
had to go.
Cornplanter explained to Morrison that the British were moving into the lands of the
Ohio River. Morrison understood that the Ohio and the Allegheny were interchangeable names
for the same river. Ohio was the Iroquois name. Allegheny was the name of the same river
in the Delaware tongue which was given when the Seneca allowed them to settle on the lower
part before it joined with the Monongahela.
It was at this time I first saw your George Washington. It was at this time I could
have easily killed the man who is your President and hero of your war with the British.
Cornplanter reflected for a moment. Perhaps he was wondering what fate would have
befallen them all had he killed that man when he had the chance. He was quiet. Then he
The Great White Father was a year older than me. That was when I first saw him; I
watched him for days as he traveled up the Allegheny to the French fort. He was tall and
young, as I was. He was elegant in the way he walked and commanded his men. I wondered
what my life would have been like as a white man. My father was a white man and often I
wondered what I might have been in your world.
Washington was a major in the Virginia Militia. Dinwiddie was the governor and was, as
I believe, a foolish man in the way he entered into this business. He trusted in the
fairness of the French and they were not a fair people. They were savage, like us. They
understood us and dared not to cross us. We likewise understood that they were as capable
as the same acts as we were and we stayed close enough that we never gave the other the
chance. It was a good alliance. The French were much more trustworthy than the British.
It was winter and the foolish British sent the Great White Father into our land without
proper guides or provisions. He arrived at Fort Le Boeuf in the middle of December. I was
there when he presented Saint-Pierre with the letter from Dinwiddie. Saint-Pierre had
replaced Pean who had taken troops back to Montreal. The letter told the French to get out
of the Seneca lands.
Washington had allied himself with Monakaduto who was also called Half King and had him
as a guide. He took Monakaduto with him to Fort LeBoeuf. That showed his own foolishness.
He fancied himself king of the Seneca at one time. My uncle, Gaithustha, fought with
him. He ran him out of our lands and threatened to kill him if he ever returned. With my
uncles death, Monakaduto believed that he could return and in a further display of
his foolishness, told Pean that he represented the Seneca. Washington believed the
impostor and was unaware that the name of Half King had been given to him by my uncle. The
white men had no contact with us. They did not know that the man was lying to them. When
he presented himself, I laughed out loud in his face and informed him that I was prepared
to deliver the death blow in place of my uncle unless he departed our lands immediately.
The half king was either a coward or a smart man. He looked me up and down. He said
nothing, not even to Washington. He left and was never seen in our lands again.
Saint-Pierre, while appearing to be courteous, was equally disrespectful to Washington.
He threw the letter on the ground and stood on it. He told him that it was the intention
of the French King to stay and take possession of the Ohio. He cited their claim to the
Mississippi and all the waters that fed it. The Ohio, he said, fed the Mississippi. He
refused to allow Washington time to refresh himself. He gave him no provisions for the
trip back down the river. He would only allow him to take two canoes with him. One more
time Washington showed how foolish he was. He sent his men in the canoes and he and a man
named Gist returned on horseback going overland instead of following the river. That was a
death warrant for his men.
The flag of peace only protected the leader and those with him. When the party
separated, that left the others in the canoes at our mercy. We followed when they left and
we killed them. We took their scalps, their clothes, and their muskets. Washington never
knew their fate until we signed the peace several years ago. I could see that it saddened
him when I explained why they were killed. I understood his sadness. I have lost men close
to me, too.
Morrison knew what happened to Washington after he left. It was a story that was told
and retold over and over. It was how Washington became a Lieutenant Colonel.
Washington and Gist made it overland. They encountered an Indian who shot at them.
Washington refused to allow Gist to kill him and on December 31, 1753, a Monday, they
finally reached the Allegheny River just above present day Pittsburgh where the Allegheny
met the Monongahela. They had hoped to cross a frozen river, but the center was still
flowing and open. They constructed a make shift raft and attempted to cross. As they did,
Washington was thrown off the raft and into the rapidly flowing river. Gist paddled the
raft after Washington and finally pulled him back aboard. Reaching the opposite shore,
they made their way to the point of land at the confluence of the two rivers and a cabin
owned by John Fraser. Today a bridge marks the Washington Crossing of 1753.
Washington became an instant hero. The fact that he traveled into the fierce Seneca
lands and returned to tell about it distinguished him above all other men. In the wake of
Indian attacks and massacres, the settlers needed a hero. George Washington was that hero.
We returned to our homes and I to my wife. I had been gone three months and she was
with child. We were very happy. We spent the winter together until March when the British
were building a fort at the joining of the two rivers. I took our braves with the French
and we ran the British off. Not a shot was ever fired. The French told the British to
leave or be killed. The British left immediately. They fled like women. We burned their
fort and then the French began work on Fort Duquesne, named for the French governor in
Montreal. I did not like being away while my wife was with child. I had a duty to the
nation and that came before my personal feelings.
There were many reinforcements coming in all of the time. There were over two thousand
Frenchmen working on the fort. They put out their patrols and with our scouts prepared to
defend the land.
Our scouts told us that Washington had crossed the mountains and was setting up a camp
at the place we called Great Meadows (current day Uniontown, PA). He was east of
the Monongahela and could come down the river and attack the Fort before it was completed.
Captain Contrecoeur was concerned. Washington had equal numbers of armed soldiers and had
constructed a road over which he brought cannon and wagons loaded with supplies. Colonel
Fry had set out from Virginia with another army to reinforce Washington.
Washington had begun to build fortifications. We decided to attack before they could be
completed. He ordered Captain Jumonville to lead a force of French and Indians against
Washington before Fry could reinforce his position.
Monakaduto was with Washington. He was giving him information and mapping the territory
for him. I knew that if we met, one of us would die.
Jumonville stupidly split our forces into five parties. Monakaduto led Washington to
Jumonvilles camp and during a heavy thunderstorm and downpour, fell on the French. I
was to the west with the Seneca warriors attempting to move to the south of Great Meadows.
When Washington attacked, Monakaduto killed and scalped Jumonville. He kept the scalp and
sent word to all the tribes that this was to be the fate of all Frenchmen and Indian
allies of the French. His boasts would prove to be hollow. The remaining four parts of
Jumonvilles force moved into position. As Washington was celebrating his victory,
believing that he had defeated the major portion of the French force, a reinforced attack
led by Contrecoeur, himself, began.
Washington fought best when he had superior numbers. Faced with a force of equal
numbers, he proved himself to be less than a great commander. He blundered time after
time. He took the bait in carefully laid traps and sent men to their deaths. In a matter
of hours, he squandered much of his army and was forced to order a retreat into the
mountains. Monakaduto was killed and his scalp was taken in revenge for the scalping of
Jumonville. We ripped out his heart and burned it in a fire. It was a sign of disrespect
because usually the heart of an honored enemy was eaten. Monakaduto was a man worthy of no
respect. He was the half-king of nothing and the Seneca were finally free of him.
Meanwhile, Indians came to Fort Duquesne. They came as a result of the call from the
French. Hurons, Chippewas, Potawatomies, Algonkins, Nipissings, Abnakis, Ottawas,
Shawnees, and Delewares all came to fight the British.
Washington was following the advice of Queen Alequippa who showed him a secret way over
the mountain. Her path gave him an advantage of three days lead on what he believed were
pursing war parties. He had no way of knowing that Contrecoeur had broken off the attack
and had returned to Fort Duquesne. He returned to receive Captain Coulon de Villers who
was arriving with reinforcements sent by Duquesne himself upon learning the fate of
Jumonville. It just so happened that de Villers was Jumonvilles brother and he was
anxious to avenge his death.
With the Indians, forces came south from Forts Le Boeuf and Presque Isle. They were led
by Captains Le Mercier and Longueuil. With the combination of the four forces and the
tribes of Indians at their disposal, they prepared to march and crush Washington. We left
Fort Duquesne in the last week in June.
Washington chose poor locations for fortifications. He was unprotected at the Great
Meadows on the western edge of the mountains. He was also unprotected at the area that the
white men called Great Meadows on the eastern side of the mountains. He built a wooden
stockade and surrounded it with a wooden wall in the basin of a swampy area that had high
grasses all around it and the forest came within fifty yards on three sides. He must have
felt secure when an immediate attack did not come. He kept his original fortifications and
did not attempt to harden his position. He kept his force clustered down in the lowest
point of an open area.
In the meantime, Frys forces arrived. Fry had been killed and the force was led
by Captain Mackay. Washington assumed command and became an acting Colonel. We crossed the
mountain and took up our positions surrounding the small fort the first day of July. We
did not attack immediately because it began to rain. It was a heavy rain and the creek
that flowed outside of the walls overflowed and filled the fort with water several feet
deep. When they came out of the fort and tried to go to higher ground, we opened fire. We
forced them back into the fort and continued a steady rain of fire on them. Finally, the
white flag went up and Washington asked for terms of peace.
He was allowed to leave with safe passage. He had to face de Villers and denounce
Monakatudo for the murder of his brother. Washington lied to the French Captain when he
claimed no role in the killing. The prisoners he returned to de Villers testified to that.
Washington was disgraced and de Villers could report to Duquesne that no English flag flew
west of the Alleghenies. The British losses were heavy. The French lost two men and we
lost one brave. He felt that his brother was avenged.
Cornplanter grew weary. He begged Morrisons leave. Morrison was tired also. The
old chief had given him much to think of as he returned to his home. Morrison knew
they would meet and talk again. He knew that he would have the opportunity to learn more.
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