Fayette County History & Genealogy

History of Fayette County


From R. S. Dills' History of Fayette County

BATTEAL HARRISON AT FORT MEIGS

The following description of the sortie, from Fort Meigs, in which Batteal Harrison participated, under command of Captain Laugham, is taken from Howe :

Soon after active operations began around the fort. General W. H. Harrison received word that General Green Clay was near at hand with a re-enforcement of twelve hundred men. The plan was for Clay to descend the river in flatboats; Clay was to detach eight hundred men, who should be landed on the left bank of the river, where they were to attack the English batteries, spike the cannons and destroy the carriages, then retreat to the fort, while the remainder of the troops were to land on the side next to the fort and cut their way to it through the Indians. When Clay approached the fort, he detached Colonel Dudley to attack the batteries. To divert the attention of the English and Indians, General Harrison ordered Colonel Miller, with his famous Fourth Regulars, to make a sortie on the side of the river on which the fort stood. He attacked the batteries, spiked the cannon, and, though the English outnumbered him, he took about forty prisoners and completely routed them. Colonel Dudley raised the Indian yell and captured the batteries on the opposite side of the river, but, neglecting to spike the cannon, and lingering on the spot, his scouts were fired upon by Indians in ambush. Indians began to swarm around him ; Tecumseh swam across the river and rushed with his savage hordes upon his rear; Colonel Dudley fell by the tomahawk, and scarcely two hundred out of the eight hundred men reached the fort. The American prisoners were taken to the old Fort Miami, in which they were confined. Here the infamous Proctor allowed the Indians to butcher the Americans with the tomahawk and scalping-knife, and torture them as their fancy suggested. He is said to have witnessed the massacre of over twenty prisoners in this place. Tecumseh now made his appearance, ignorant of what was going on inside of the fort. A British officer described his conduct, on this occasion, to and American : He said that suddenly a thundering voice was heard, speaking in the Indian tongue; he looked around and saw Tecumseh, riding as fast as his horse could carry him, to a spot where two Indians had an American killing him, Tecumseh sprang from his horse and catching one Indian by the throat and the other by the breast, threw them to the ground. The chief then drew his tomahawk and scalping-knife, and, running between the prisoner and the Indians, brandished the weapons madly and dared any of the hundreds of Indians around him to touch another prisoner. His people seemed much confounded. Tecumseh exclaimed, passionately, " Oh ! what will become of my Indians !"

He then inquired where General Proctor was, when, suddenly seeing him at a short distance, he demanded of the commander why he had allowed this massacre.

" Sir," said Proctor, "your Indians cannot be commanded." "Begone!" answered the chief, sneeringly, "you are unfit to command; go and put on petticoats."