History From America's Most Famous Valleys
STORIES OF THE REVOLUTION
With an account of the lost child of the Delaware: Wheaton and the Panther, &c.
Thanks to Willis Barshied Jr. for the donation.
Printed by Hoffman and White,
No. 71 State Street 1836.
ESCAPE OF THE BRITISH INDIANS AT THE TAKING OF BURGOYNE.
There followed in the train of that overweening officer, fifteen hundred aboriginals of the northern forests, composed of various tribes, when he made with his scarlet legions, a decent into the heart of a country populous with unconquerable patriots, with whose force and resources he had formed but small acquaintance, till the hour of his falling into their hands at the heights of Saratoga.
On that day which developed the decree of Heaven, in the captivity of the British army he had sent out the leader of those Indians with a scout at his command, to scour the surrounding woods and country, to learn, if possible, if the enemy were thickening around them. These sons of the forest as led on by their unvanquished Chief, pierced the woods in all directions, but silent as the light tread of a Panther when on the scent of its prey recognizing at every step, the well known hunting grounds of their fathers, who at the approach of the wiser and more powerful; but hated white man, had fled to remoter wilds.
Vengeance, the red man's soul ; at these recollections, was roused, beclouding their native gloominess of countenance, with a still deeper cast of sternness : thus to be spurned and driven from the dear haunts of infancy, where on the Hudson's unbragenous shores, they had lived in communion with the deer and beaver ; these thoughts conjured up the genius of wrath, such as would have scalped a world, but was fated to subside along the raging veins of the sullen, but majestic Indian, unrevenged.
They had dispersed in different directions, not however, so remote, as to be beyond the echo of the shrill whoops of their leaders, so that the sharp signal yell might fly as the feathered arrow, from one to another, till the whole great circle which had gone out from the camp at every point, might know in a moment, the wish of their Chief.
Not a vale nor distant hill, viewed from the tops of the tallest trees and eminences, or gulfs and dens, -or tangled woods, escaped the vigilence of these Lynx eyed rangers.
But what was their dismay, when from every point it was perceived that thousands came rushing on, in one vast circle ; from the blue hills that skirt the hardy Vermonter's home ; from the South, where the Hudson pours along its northern waters ; from the West, and all the region of the Mohawk, from the North, the very rout their army had traced, the sons of liberty came down, as the roar of many waters, ready to engulph in ruin the entire battalions of the British army.
This seen, the appalled, though wary Chief, yelled once : the dire screach sunk fearful on all ears, as when a panther screams, save those of his trusty warriors, who in a moment drank in the sound as the chime of sweetest music, when suddenly and they stood in a circle around hint, in silent, but keenly fixed attention. Warriors ; death and ruin are near us, the army of Burguoine is lost-the Americans are pouring in from every side, as if the Great Spirit, is shaking the world of all its tribes of the pale faced race : we must not be taken captives here on the very soil, once the wide spread hunting grounds of our ancestors. Burgoyne is already hungry, is terror stricken, but cannot flee away. To be pointed at in the streets of Albany, and pelted with paving stones by the white Poppooses, to hear it said ; what, are the Indians among them, could not the British Crown shade them from the blast of the American arms ; this will be too dreadful for the ears of Indians ; let us give the signal, and go to our homes in Canada.
A fierce glance of the eye, and the responsive monosyllable, Ugh, showed their Chief as he paused, their approbation of what he had said.
A wave of his hand as he stood in the tall attitude of native eloquence, when, as quick as the flash of their own tried rifles, they disappeared, or as a vapour, when risen a little above the ground is seen no more, having mixed with the clear, blue air of the vaulted sky.
A few moments now elapsed, when the Chief alone was seen standing on a little eminence near the marque of Burgoyne. When that dismayed General cast his eye that way, he beheld the well known Chief of his Indian allies, standing in the tall majesty of his own uprightness, waving silently his hand to the thousands around him. The motion of that hand was inimitible ; rapid as the vibration of the tail of the rattlesnake, while it conveyed the double intelligence of the immensity of the enemy, and of certain destruction, a chill of horror was felt along the ranks-each exclaimed instinctively, all is lost.
This done, he staid not to be questioned, but disappeared ; an hour had not numbered its rapid moments, when not an Indian of all the fifteen hundred, who had followed the boasting Britton, could be found ; they had slid as so many spectres of darkness, from the sight of both armies, although hemmed in on every side, their homes in Canada next witnessed their presence.
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