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fatigue party dug a pit large enough to contain the remains of all of them, and after depositing them in the pit, merely covering them with a little earth, with a view to have revenge on the wolves for devouring their companions, they covered the pit with slender sticks, rotten wood and bits of bark, not of sufficient strength to bear the weight of a wolf. On the top of this covering they placed a piece of meat, as a bait for the wolves. The next morning seven of them were found in the pit. They were shot and the pit filled up.
For about two weeks before the relief arrived, the garrison had been put on short allowance of half a pound of sour flour and an equal weight of stinking meat for every two days. The greater part of the last week, they had nothing to subsist on but such roots as they could find in the woods and prairies, and raw hides. Two men lost their lives by eating wild parsnip roots by mistake. Four more nearly shared the same fate, but were saved by medical aid.
On the evening of the arrival of the relief, two days' rations were issued to each man in the fort. These rations were intended as their allowance during their march to Fort M’Intosh ; but many of the men, supposing them to have been back rations, ate up the whole of their allowance before the next morning. In consequence of this imprudence, in eating immoderately after such extreme starvation from the want of provisions, about forty of the men became faint and sick during the first day's march. On the second day, however, the sufferers were met by a great number of their friends from the settlements to which they belonged, by whom they were amply supplied with provisions, and thus saved from perishing,
Maj. Vernon, who succeeded Col. Gibson in the command of Fort Laurens, continued its possession until the next fall, when the garrison, after being, like their predecessors, reduced almost to starvation, evacuated ihe place.
Thus ended the disastrous business of Fort Laurens,
in which much fatigue and suffering were endured and many lives lost, but without any beneficial result to the country.
The Moravian campaign.
This ever memorable campaign took place in the month of March 1782. The weather, during the greater part of the month of February, had been uncommonly fine, so that the war parties from Sandusky visited the settlements, and committed depredations earlier than usual. The family of a William Wallace, consisting of his wife and five or six children; were killed, and John Carpenter taken prisoner. These events took place in the latter part of February. The early period at which those fatal visitations of the Indians took place, led to the conclusion that the murderers were either Ma ravians, or that the warriors had had their winter quarters at their towns on the Muskinguin.
In either case, the Moravians being in fault, the safety of the frontier settlements required the destruction of their establishments at that place.
Accordingly, between eighty and ninety men were hastily collected together for the fatal enterprise. They rendezvoused and encamped the first night on the Mingo bottom, on the west side of the Ohio river. Each man furnished himself with his own arms, ammunition and provision. Many of them had horses. The second day's march brought them within one mile of the middle Moravian town, where they encamped for the night. In the morning the men were divided into two equal parties, one of which was to cross the river about a inile above the town, thoir videttes having reported
that there were Indians on both sides of the river. The other party was divided into three divisions, one of which was to take a circuit in the woods, and reach the river a little distance below the town, on the east side. Another division was to fall into the middle of the town, and the third at its
end. When the party which designed to make the attack on the west side had reached the river, they found no craft to take them over, but something like a canoe was seen on the opposite bank. The river was high with some floating ice. A young man of the name of Slaughter swam the river and brought over, not a canoe, but a trough designed for holding sugar water. This trough could carry
but two men at a time. In order to expedite their passage, a number of men stripped off their clothes, put them into the trough, together with their guns, and swam by its sides, holding its edges with their hands. When about sixteen had crossed the river, their two sentinels, who had been posted in advance, discorered an Indian whose name was Shabosh. One of them broke one of his arms by a shot. A shot from the other sentinel killed him. These heroes then scalped and tomahawked him.
By this time about sixteen men had got over the rirer, and supposing that the firing of the guns which killed Shabosh would lead to an instant discovery, they sent word to the party designed to attack the town on the east side of the river to move on instantly, which they did.
In the mean time, the small party which had crossed the river, marched with all speed to the main town on the west side of the river. Here they found a large company of Indians gathering the corn which they had left in their fields the preceding fall when they removed to Sandusky. On the arrival of the men at the town, they professed peace and good will to the Moravians, and informed them that they had come to take them to Fort Pitt for their safety. The Indians surrendered, delivered up their arms, and appeared highly delighted with the prospect of their removal, and began with all speed to prepare victuals for the white men and for themselves on their journey,
A party of white men and Indians was immediately dispatched to Salem, a short distance from Gnadenhutten, where the Indians were gathering in their corn, to bring them into Gnadenhutten. The party soon arrived with the whole number of the Indians from Salem.
In the mean time the Indians from Gnadenhutten were confined in two houses some distance apart, and placed under guard ; and when those from Salem arrived, they were divided, and placed in the same houses with their brethren of Gnadenhutten.
The prisoners being thus secured, a council of war was held to decide on their fate. The officers, unwilling to take on themselves the whole responsibility of the decision, agreed to refer the question to the whole number of the men. The men were accordingly drawn up in a line. The commandant of the party, Col. David Williamson, then put the question to them in form, “Whether the Moravian Indians should be taken prisoners to Pittsburg, or put to death, and requested that all those who were in favor of saving their lives should step out of the line, and form a second rank.” On this sixteen, some say eighteen, stepped out of the rank, and formed themselves into a second line; but alas ! this line of mercy was far too short for that of vengeance. The fate of the Moravians was then decided on,
and they were told to prepare for death.
The prisoners, from the time they were placed in the guard-house, foresaw their fate, and began their devotions by singing hynins, praying, and exhorting each other to place a firm reliance in the mercy of the Savior of men. When their fate was announced to them, these devoted people embraced, kissed, and bedewing each others' faces and bosoms with their mutual tears, asked pardon of the brothers and sisters for any offense they might have given them through life. Thus, at peace with their God and each other, on being asked by those who were impatient for the slaughter, "Whether they were ready to die?" they answered "that they had commended their souls to God, and were ready to die."
The particulars of this dreadful catastrophe are too horrid to relate. Sulfice it to say, that in a few minutes these two slaughter-houses, as they were then called, exhibited in their ghastly interior, the mangled, bleeding remains, of these poor unfortunate people, of all ages and sexes, from the aged grayheaded parent, down to the helpless infant at the mother's breast, dishonored by the fatal wounds of the tomahawk, mallet, war club, spear and scalping-knife.
Thus, O Brainard and Zeisberger! faithful missionaries, who devoted your whole lives to incessant toil and sufferings in your endeavors to make the wilderness of paganism “rejoice and blossom as the rose,” in faith and piety to God! thus perished your faithful followers, by the murderous hands of the more than savage white men.
Faithful pastors ! Your spirits are again associated with those of your flock, “where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest!”
The number of the slain, as reported by the men on their return from the campaign, was eighty-seven or eighty-nine; but the Moravian account, which no doubt is correct, makes the number ninety-six. Of these, sixty-two were grown sons, one third of whom were women; the remaining thirty-four were children. All these, with a few exceptions, were killed in the houses. Shabosh was killed about a mile above the town, on the west side of the river. His wife was killed while endeavoring to conceal herself in a bunch of bushes at the water's edge, on the arrival of the men at the town, on the east side of the river. A man at the same time was shot in a canoe, while attempting to make his escape from the east to the west side of the river. Two others were shot while attempting to escape by swimming the river.
A few men, who were supposed to be warriors, were tied and taken some distance from the slaughter houses,