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Journals of the Siege of Detroit

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Journals of the Siege of Detroit
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Author(s): Robert Rogers
Date Published: 2010/07
Page Count: 216
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-127-0
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-128-7

Two classic first hand accounts of 18th century American Colonial Warfare

Britain's victory in the French and Indian War did not bring peace to the American wilderness. Formal treaties between European powers meant little to the native Indian allies of each side who perpetuated their opposition to their white and 'red' skinned enemies in hopes of a return to a former balance of power and influence. So it was that Chief Pontiac of the Ottawa's at the head of a confederation of Indian allies rose up in 1763 slaughtering the occupants of settlements and burning forts before he came before the substantial defences of Detroit. The principal account of this engagement told within this book comes from the pen of the secretary to the posts commanding officer. It is thorough in its detail and gripping as a story in almost cinematographic proportions. Those who have been fascinated by the accounts of beleaguered garrisons such as Rorke’s Drift, Chitral and others with find much to engage them here. Readers who are fascinated by the French and Indian War will appreciate this book's second piece from the pen of that most famous of rangers—Major Robert Rogers—who provides his customary incisive view of the events of the war. Highly Recommended.

While we were at dinner Dr. Paully entered the fort having made his escape in open daylight, by whom we were informed that the Indian we killed this morning was the son of the most considerable chiefs of the Chippewas, and that we only wounded another. That upon their arrival at the camp he was informed that they were gone to look for Capt. Campbell to kill him, upon which he formed a resolution to attempt to save himself. He was dressed so like an Indian, his hair being cut and painted in their fashion that nobody knew him when he was brought in. This evening we were informed that there was 140 Frenchmen gathered at the Hurons’ who had made an agreement to defend one another against all enemies. Mr. Navarre published the Articles of Peace both to the French and Indians.
The French were assembled today by order of the commandant, who all rejoiced to take up arms to the amount of about forty, and chose Mr. Sterling to command them.<br>
The garrison lay on the ramparts. Yesterday we wounded an Indian with a grape shot from the vessel behind the breastwork at Mr. Babie’s house.<br>
5th. This morning Mr. Labute came into the fort, and informed us that as soon as the Chippewas were informed that we had killed the son of their great chief they went to Pontiac and told him that he was the cause of all their ill luck, that he caused them to enter into the war and did nothing himself, that he was very brave in taking a loaf of bread or a beef from a Frenchman who made no resistance, but it was them that had all the men killed and wounded every day, and for that reason they would take that from him which he intended to save himself by in the end, then went and took Capt. Campbell, stripped him, and carried him to their camp, where they killed him, took out his heart and eat it reeking from his body, cut off his head, and the rest of his body they divided into small pieces.<br>
He likewise informed us that in a quarter of an hour after Mr. Paully made his escape upwards of a hundred Ottawas left their camp in search of him.<br>
This evening we were informed that the Ottawas found one of their men dead in the edge of the woods opposite the fort, who we supposed must have been killed from one of the cavaliers. The garrison lay on the ramparts.
6th. This morning we were informed that we killed three Indians and wounded one in the affair of yesterday.
At 12 o’clock the commandant sent the sloop up to Pontiac’s camp under the command of Capt. Hopkins and Ensign Paully, but the wind being very weak they had time to remove almost all their things out of their cabans and send their women and children away before she arrived, however they fired near fifty cannon at those that were there, and threw several shells amongst them, we have not heard what number was killed or wounded.
The Pottawatamies came with a flag while the sloop was battering their camp, and after telling the commandant that they had heard the peace between the French and us proclaimed, and that they believed it, and the several chiefs with their bands were gone and going to leave Pontiac, they asked him to give them the Indian we had for two of our prisoners that they would bring in.<br>
Upon which the commandant told them that he would still stand to what he had told them before with regard to changing prisoners, that notwithstanding all they had promised the last time they were with him, they went down the river and fired against the schooner when me was coming up, and a few days before stole two horses from him, notwithstanding all which, to show that he pitied them if they would bring in all their prisoners and the horses, and promise not to do any more mischief either to the French or English, as we were now one, he would give up the Indian he had, and would recommend them to the general, but if they made the least difficulty in it he would not hear them anymore and they must take the consequences of his displeasure, upon which they hung their heads and said they found everything that he had told them to be true, and could not deny what they were accused with, and not only promised to do all he asked of them, but that none of their nation was to come nearer the fort than Mr. Campo’s Mill, about a mile from it.<br>
Pontiac who always told the French that we were all dead men that were in the fort, could not help acknowledging today that we were come to life and that he was ruined. The garrison lay on their arms.<br>
7th. This day the Pottawatamies came with a flag for a belt of wampum that the commandant promised them to carry to the rest of their nation at St. Josephs and to the Miamis to tell them what they had done and how much they were pitied by the commandant whose advice they must always follow; which belt they got with a letter to the interpreter there desiring to tell the Indians what he had promised the Pottawatamies here as they were the first that offered to make peace, viz. if they continued quiet for the future and minded their hunting he would recommend them to the general, who he made no doubt would forgive them, as he believed they had no hand in the war, further than that some of their young men were led into it before they knew what they were doing.<br>
The Hurons came at the same time and told the commandant that neither they nor the Pottawatamies knew anything of this affair at the commencement, for Pontiac never consulted them about it until he had got such a number of men together that overpower them both, and then he told them his design and threatened them that if they would not join with him he would cut them to pieces. That notwithstanding which they never did anything but fire one day against the fort except a band or two of their young men whom they could not then command.<br>
The commandant told them he believed it, and asked them if they did not now see that everything he told them was true, which they could not deny. He then promised them the same he had done to the Pottawatamies, if they would give up all their prisoners and behave well for the future. He told them he could not make peace with them, but as he told the Pottawatamies would recommend them to the general.<br>
They promised to do all he desired of them, but told him it would take them two or three days, as all the prisoners that were adopted in the room of the people they had lost must be given up by the consent of those that had them, as they were given to them by the nation.<br>
We imagine that the reason of the Hurons coming today was in consequence of the commandants sending the sloop yesterday to batter the camp of the Ottawas and Chippewas, by which they saw how much they were in our power. The garrison lay on the ramparts.
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