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The French and Indian War in the American South

[Note: This presentation of the French and Indian War in the American South is Chapters IV-VI of Archibald Henderson (Ph.D.)’s The Conquest of the Old Southwest published by the Century Company, New York in 1920. Henderson never uses the term “French and Indian War in the American South” but this portion of his book is essentially that. Despite the term I have given to this article, the French were minimally involved in the fighting in the South, and much of the difficulty with the Indians of the time and place was more the fault of the English than due to interference of the French.]


All met in companies with their wives and children, and Set about building little fortifications, to defend themselves from such barbarian and inhuman enemies, whom they concluded would be let loose upon them at pleasure.

THE REVEREND HUGH McADEN: Diary, July, 1755.

LONG before the actual outbreak of hostilities powerful forces were gradually Convergmg to produce a clash between the aggressive colonials and the crafty Indians. As the settlers pressed farther westward into the domain of the red men, arrogantly grazing their stock over the cherished hunting-grounds of the Cherokees, the savages, who were already well disposed toward the French, began to manifest a deep indignation against the British colonists because of this callous encroachment upon their territory. During the sporadic forays by scattered bands of Northern Indians upon the Catawbas and other tribes friendly to the pioneers the isolated settlements at the back part of the Carolinas suffered rude and sanguinary onslaughts. In the summer of 1758 a party of northern Indians warring in the French interest made their appearance in Rowan County, [North Carolina] which had just been organized and committed various depredations upon the scattered settlements. To repel these attacks a band of the Catawbas sallied forth, encountered a detached party of the enemy, and slew five of their number. Among the spoils, significantly enough, were silver crucifixes, beads, looking-glasses, tomahawks and other in implements of war, all of French manufacture.

Intense rivalry for the good will of the near-by southern tribes existed between Virginia and South Carolina. In strong remonstrance against the alleged attempt of Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia to alienate the Cherokees, Catawbas, Muscogees, and Chickasaws from South Carolina and to attach them to Virginia, Governor Glen of South Carolina made pungent observations to Dinwiddie: "South Carolina is a weak frontier colony, and in case of invasion by the French would be their first object of attack. We have not much to fear, however, while we retain the affection of the Indians around us; but should we forfeit that by any mismanagement on our part, or by the superior address of the French, we are in a miserable situation. The Cherokees alone have several thousand gunmen well acquainted with every inch of the province... their country is the key to Carolina." By a treaty concluded at Saluda (November 24, 1753), Glen promised to build the Cherokees a fort near the lower towns, for the protection of themselves and their allies; and the Cherokees on their part agreed to become the subjects of the King of Great Britain and hold their lands under him.[35] This fort, erected the same year on the headwaters of the Savannah, within gunshot distance of the important Indian town of Keowee, was named Fort Prince George. "It is a square," says the founder of the fort (Governor Glen to the Board of Trade, August 26, 1754), "with regular Bastions and four Ravelins it is near Two hundred foot from Salient Angle to Salient Angle and is made of Earth taken out of the Ditch, secured with machines and well rammed with a banquet on the Inside for the men to stand upon when they fire over, the Ravelins are made of Posts of Lightwood which is very durable, they are ten foot in length sharp pointed three foot and a half in the ground."[36] The dire need for such a fort in the back country was tragically illustrated by the sudden onslaught upon the "House of John Gutry & James Anshers" in York County by a party of sixty French Indians (December 16, 1754), who brutally murdered sixteen of the twenty-one persons present, and carried off as captives the remaining five.[37]

At the outbreak of the French and Indian War in 1754 North Carolina voted twelve thousand pounds for the raising of troops and several thousand pounds additional for the construction of forts-a sum considerably larger than that voted by Virginia. A regiment of two hundred and fifty men was placed under the command of Colonel James Innes of the Cape Fear section; and the ablest officer under him was the young Irishman from the same section, Lieutenant Hugh Waddell. On June 3, 1754, Dinwiddie appointed Innes, his close friend, commander-in-chief of all the forces against the French; and immediately after the disaster at Great Meadows (July, 1754), Innes took command. Within two months the supplies for the North Carolina troops were exhausted; and as Virginia then failed to furnish additional supplies, Colonel Innes had no recourse but to disband his troops and permit them to return home. Appointed governor of Fort Cumberland by General Braddock, he was in command there while Braddock advanced on his disastrous march.

The lesson of Braddock's defeat (July 9, 1755) was memorable in the history of the Old Southwest. Well might Braddock exclaim with his last breath: "Who would have thought it? . . . We shall know better how to deal with them another time." Led on by the reckless and fiery Beaujeu, wearing an Indian gorget about his neck, the savages from the protection of trees and rough defenses, a prepared ambuscade, poured a galling fire into the compact divisions of the English, whose scarlet coats furnished ideal targets. The obstinacy of the British commanders in refusing to permit their troops to fight Indian fashion was suicidal; for as Herman Alrichs wrote Governor Morris of Pennsylvania (July 22, 1755): . . the French and Indians had cast an Entrenchment across the road before our Army which they Discovered not Untill the[y] came Close up to it, from thence and both sides of the road the enemy kept a constant firing on them, our Army being so confused, they could not fight, and they would not be admitted by the Gen1 or Sir John St. Clair, to break thro' their Ranks and Take behind trees."[38] Daniel Boone, who went from North Carolina as a wagoner in the company commanded by Edward Brice Dobbs was on the battle-field; but Dobbs's company at the time was scouting in the woods. When the fierce attack fell upon the baggage train, Boone succeeded in effecting his escape only by cutting the traces of his team and fleeing on one of the horses. To his dying day Boone continued to censure Braddock's conduct, and reprehended especially his fatal neglect to employ strong flank-guards and a sufficient number of Provincial scouts thoroughly acquainted with the wilderness and all the wiles and strategies of savage warfare.

For a number of months following Braddock's defeat there was a great rush of the frightened people southward. In a letter to Dinwiddie, Washington expresses the apprehension that Augusta, Frederick, and Hampshire County will soon be depopulated, as the whole back country is in motion toward the southern colonies. During this same summer Governor Arthur Dobbs of North Carolina made a tour of exploration through the western part of the colony, seeking a site for a fort to guard the frontier.39 The frontier company of fifty men which was to garrison the projected fort was placed under the command of Hugh Waddell, now promoted to the rank of captain, though only twenty-one years old. In addition to Waddell's company, armed patrols were required for the protection of the Rowan County frontier; and during the summer Indian alarms were frequent at the Moravian village of Bethabara, whose inhabitants had heard with distress on March 31st of the slaughter of eleven Moravians on the Mahoni and of the ruin of Gnadenhijtten. Many of the settlers in the outlying districts of Rowan fled for safety to the refuge of the little village; and frequently every available house, every place of temporary abode was filled with panic-stricken refugees. So persistent were the depredations of the Indians and so alarmed were the scattered Rowan settlers by the news of the murders and the destruction of Vaux's Fort in Virginia (June 25, 1756) that at a conference on July 5th the Moravians "decided to protect our houses with palisades, and make them safe before the enemy should invade our tract or attack us, for if the people were all going to retreat we would be the last left on the frontier and the first point of attack." By July 23d, they had constructed a strong defense for their settlement, afterward called the "Dutch Fort" by the Indians. The principal structure was a

stockade, triangular in plan, some three hundred feet on a side, enclosing the principal buildings of the settlement; and the gateway was guarded by an observation tower. The other defense was a stockade embracing eight houses at the mill some distance away, around which a small settlement had sprung up.40

During the same year the fort planned by Dobbs was erected upon the site he had chosen--between Third and Fourth creeks; and the commissioners Richard Caswell and Francis Brown, sent out to inspect the fort, made the following picturesque report to the Assembly (December 21, 1756):

That they had likewise viewed the State of Fort Dobbs, and found it to be a good and Substantial Building of the Dimensions following (that is to say) The Oblong Square fifty three feet by forty, the opposite Angles Twenty four feet and Twenty-Two In Height Twenty four and a half feet as by the Plan annexed Appears, The Thickness of the Walls which are made of Oak Logs regularly Diminished from sixteen Inches to Six, it contains three floors and there may be discharged from each floor at one and the same time about one hundred Musketts the same is beautifully situated in the fork of Fourth Creek a Branch of the Yadkin River. And that they also found under Command of Capt Hugh Waddel Forty six Effective men Officers and Soldiers... the said Officers and Soldiers Appearing well and in good Spirits.41


As to the erection of a fort on the Tennessee promised the Cherokees by South Carolina difficulties between the governor of that province and of Virginia in regard to matters of policy and the proportionate share of expenses made effective cooperation between the two colonies well-nigh impossible. Glen, as we have seen, had resented Dinwiddie's efforts to win the South Carolina Indians over to Virginia's interest. And Dinwiddie had been very indignant when the force promise by the Indians to aid General Braddock did not arrive, attributing this defection in part to Glen's negotiations for a meeting with the chieftans and in part to the influence of the South Carolina traders, who kept the Indians away by hiring them to go on long hunts for furs and skins. But there was no such contention between Virginia and North Carolina. Dinwiddie and Dobbs arranged (November 6, 1755) to send a commission from these colonies to treat with the Cherokees and the Catawbas. Virginia sent two commissioners Colonel William Byrd, third of that name and Colonel Peter Randolph; while North Carolina sent one, Captain Hugh Waddell. Salisbury, North Carolina, was the place of rendezvous. The treaty with the Catawbas made at the Catawba Town, presumably the village opposite the mouth of Sugaw Creek, in York County, South Carolina on February 20-21, 1756; that with the Cherokees on Broad River, North Carolina, March 13-17. As a result of the negotiations and after the receipt of a present of goods, the Ctawbas agreed to send forty warriors to aid Virginia within forty days; and. The Cherokees, in return for presents and Virginia's promise to contribute her proportion toward the erection of a strong fort, undertook to send four hundred warriors within forty days, "as soon as the said fort shall be built." Virginia and North Carolina thus wisely cooperated to "straighten the path" and "brighten the chain" between the white and the red men, in important treaties which have largely escaped the attention of historians.[42]

On May 25, 1756, a conference was held at Salisbury between King Heygler and warriors of the Catawba nation on the one side and Chief Justice Henley, doubtless attended by Captain Waddell and his frontier company on the other. King Heygler, following the lead set by the Cherokees, petitioned the Governor of North Carolina to send the Catawbas some ammunition and to "build us a fort for the securing our old men, women and children when we turn out to fight the Enemy on their coming." The chief justice assured the King that the Catawbas would receive a necessary supply of ammunition (one hundred pounds of gunpowder and four hundred pounds of lead were later sent them) and promised to urge with the governor their request to have a fort built as soon as possible. Pathos not unmixed with dry humor tinges the eloquent appeal of good King Heygler, ever the loyal friend of the whites, at this conference:

I desire a stop may be put to the selling of strong liquors by the White people to my people especially near the Indian nation. If the White people make strong drink, let them sell it to one another, or drink it in their own families. This will avoid a great deal of mischief which otherwise will happen from my people getting drunk and quarrelling with the White people. I have no strong prisons like you to confine them for it. Our only way is to put under ground and all these (pointing proudly to his Warriors) will be ready to do that to those who shall deserve it.[43]

In response to this request, the sum of four thousands pounds was appropriated by the North Carolina Assembly for the erection of "a Fort on our western frontier to protect and secure the Catawbas" and for the support of two companies of fifty men each to garrison this and another fort building on the sea coast. The commissioners appointed for the purpose recommended (December 21, 1756) a site for the fort "near the Catawba nation"; and on January 20, 1757, Governor Dobbs reported: "We are now building a Fort in the midst of their towns at their own Request." The fort thereupon begun must have stood near the mouth of the South Fork of the Catawba River, as Dobbs says it was in the "midst" of their towns, which are situated a "few miles north and south of 38 [degrees]" and might prop be included within a circle of thirty miles radius.[44]

During the succeeding months many depredations were committed by the Indians upon the exposed and scattered settlements. Had it not been for the protection afforded by all these forts, by the militia companies under Alexander Osborne of Rowan and Nathaniel Alexander of Anson, and by a special company of patrollers under Green and Moore, the back settles who had been so outrageously "pilfered" by the Indians would have "retired from the Frontier into the inner settlements."[45]


We give thanks and praise for the safety and peace vouchsafed us by our Heavenly Father In these times of war. Many of our neighbors, driven hither and yon like deer before wild beasts, came to us for shelter, yet the accustomed order of our congregation life was not disturbed, no not even by the more than 150 Indians who at sundry times passed by, stopping for a day at a time and being fed by us.

-Wachovia Community Diary, 1757.

WITH commendable energy and expedition Dinwiddie and Dobbs, acting in concert, initiated steps for keeping the engagements conjointly made by the two colonies with the Cherokees and the Catawbas in the spring and summer of 1756. Enlisting sixty men, "most of them Artificers, with Tools and Provisions," Major Andrew Lewis proceeded in the late spring to Echota in the Cherokee country. Here during the hot summer months they erected the Virginia Fort on the path from Virginia, upon the northern bank of the Little Tennessee, nearly opposite the Indian town of Echota and about twenty-five miles southwest of Knoxville.[46] While the fort was in process of construction, the Cherokees were incessantly tampered with by emissaries from the Nuntewees and the Savannahs in the French interest, and from the French themselves at the Alibamu Fort. So effective were these machinations, supported by extravagant promises and doubtless rich bribes, that the Cherokees soon were outspokenly expressing their desire for a French fort at Great Tellico.

Dinwiddie welcomed the departure from America of Governor Glen of South Carolina, who in his opinion had always acted contary to the king's interest. From the new governor, William Henry Lyttelton, who arrived in Charleston on June 1, 1756, he hoped to secure effective cooperation in dealing with the Cherokees and the Catawbas. This hope was based upon Lyttelton's recognition, as stated in Dinwiddie's words, of the "Necessity of the strict Union between the whole Colonies, with't any of them considering their particular Interest separate from the general Good of the whole." After constructing the fort "with the least assistance from South Carolina," Major Lewis happened by accident upon a grand council being held in Echota in September. At that time he discovered to his great alarm that the machinations of the French had already produced the greatest imaginable change in the sentiment of the Cherokees. Captain Raymond Demere of the Provincials, with two hundred English troops had arrived to garrison the fort; but the head men of all the Upper Towns were secretly influenced to agree to write a letter to Captain Demere, ordering him to return to Charleston with all the troops under his command. At the grand council, Atta-kulla-kulla, the great Cherokee chieftain, passionately declared to the head men, who listened approvingly, that "as to the few soldiers of Captain Demere that was there, he would take their Guns, and give them to his young men to hunt with and as to their clothes they would soon be worn out and their skins would be tanned and be of the same colour as theirs, and that they should live among them as slaves." With impressive dignity Major Lewis rose and earnestly pleaded for the observance of the terms of the treaty solemnly negotiated the preceding March. In response the crafty and treacherous chieftains desired Lewis to tell the Governor of Virginia that they had taken up the Hatchet against all Nations that were Enemies to the English"; but Lewis, an astute student of Indian psychology, rightly surmised that all their glib professions of friendship and assistance were "only to put a gloss on their knavery."[47] So it proved; for instead of the four hundred warriors promised under the treaty for service in Virginia, the Cherokees sent only seven warriors accompanied by three women. Although the Cherokees petitioned Virginia for a number of men to garrison the Virginia fort, Dinwiddie postponed sending the fifty men provided for by the Virginia Assembly until he could reassure himself in regard to the "Behaviour and Intention" of the treacherous Indian allies. This proved to be a prudent decision; for not long after its erection the Virginia fort was destroyed by the Indians.

Whether on account of the dissatisfaction expressed by the Cherokees over the erection of the Virginia fort or because of a recognition of the mistaken policy of garrisoning a work erected by Virginia with troops sent from Charleston, South Carolina immediately proceeded to build another stronghold on the southern bank of the Tennessee at the mouth of Tellico River, some seven miles from the site of the Virginia fort; and here were posted twelve great guns, brought thither at immense labor through the wilderness.[48] To this fort, named Fort Loudoun in honor of Lord Loudoun, then commander-in-chief of all the English forces in America, the Indians allured artisans by donations of land; and during the next three or four years a little settlement sprang up there.

The frontiers of Virginia suffered most from the incursions of hostile Indians during fourteen months following May 1, 1755. In July, the Rev. Hugh McAden records that he preached in Virginia on a day set apart for fasting and prayer on account of the wars and many murders, committed by the savage Indians on the back inhabitants." On July 30th a large party of Shawano Indians fell upon the New River settlement and wiped it out of existence. William Ingles was absent at the time of the raid; and Mrs. Ingles, who was captured, afterward effected her escape.[49] The following summer (June 25, 1756), Fort Vaux on the headwaters of the Roanoke, under the command of Captain John Smith, was captured by about one hundred French and Indians, who burnt the fort, killed John Smith, junior, John Robinson, John Tracey and John Ingles, wounded four men, and captured twenty-two men, women, and children. Among the captured was the famous Mrs. Mary Ingles, whose husband, John Ingles, was killed; but after being "carried away into Captivity, amongst whom she was barbarously treated," according to her own statement, she finally escaped and returned to Virginia.[50] The frontier continued to be infested by marauding bands of French and Indians; and Dinwiddie gloomily confessed to Dobbs (July 22d): "I apprehend that we shall always be harrass'd with fiy'g Parties of these Banditi unless we form an Expedit'n ag'st them to attack 'em in y'r Towns."[51] Such an expedition, known as the Sandy River Expedition, had been sent out in February to avenge the massacre of the New River settlers; but the enterprise engaged in by about four hundred Virginians and Cherokees under Major Andrew Lewis and Captain Richard Pearis, proved a disastrous failure. Not a single, Indian was seen; and the party suffered extraordinary hardships and narrowly escaped starvation.[52]

In conformity with his treaty obligations with the Catawbas, Governor Dobbs commissioned Captain Hugh Waddell to erect the fort promised the Catawbas at the spot chosen by the commissioners near the mouth South Fork of the Catawba River. This fort, for which four thousand pounds had been appropriated was for the most part completed by midsummer, 1757. But owing, it appears, both to the machinations of the French and to the intermeddling of the South Carolina traders, who desired to retain the trade of the Catawbas for that provience, Oroloswa, the Catawba King Heygler, sent a "talk" to Governor Lyttelton, requesting that North Carolina desist from the work of construction and that no fort be built except by South Carolina. Accordingly, Governor Dobbs ordered Captain Waddell to discharge the workmen (August 11, 1757)[53]; and every effort was made for many months thereafter to conciliate the Catawbs erstwhile friends of North Carolina. The Catawba fort erected by North Carolina was never fully completed; and several years later South Carolina, having succeeded in alienating the Catawbas from North Carolina, which colony had given them the best possible treatment, built for them a fort[54] at the mouth of Line Creek on the east bank of the Catawba River.

In the spring and summer of 1757 the long expected Indian allies arrived in Virginia, as many as four hundred by May-Cherokees, Catawbas, Tuscaroras, and Nottaways. But Dinwiddie was wholly unable to use them effectively; and in order to provide amusement for them, he directed that they should go "a scalping" with the whites-"a barbarous method of war," frankly acknowledged the governor, "introduced by the French, which we are oblidged to follow in our own defense." Most of the Indian allies discontentedly returned home before the end of the year, but the remainder waited until the next year but take part in the campaign against Fort Duquesne. Three North Carolina companies, composed of trained soldiers and hardy frontiersmen, went through this campaign under the command of Major Hugh Waddell, the "Washington of North Carolina." Long of limb and broad of chest, powerful, lithe, and active, Waddell was an ideal leader for this arduous service, being fertile in expedient and skilful in the employment of Indian tactics. With true provincial pride Governor Dobbs records that Waddell "had great honor done him, being employed in all reconnoitring parties, and dressed and acted as an Indian; and his sergeant, Rogers, took the only Indian prisoner, who gave Mr. Forbes certain intelligence of the forces in Fort Duquesne, upon which they resolved to proceed." This apparently trivial incident is remarkable, in that it proved to be the decisive factor in a campaign that was about to be abandoned. The information in regard to the state of the garrison at Fort Duquesne, secure from the Indians for the capture of whom two leading officers had offered a reward of two hundred and fifty pounds, emboldened Forbes to advance rather than to retire. Upon reaching the fort (November 25th), he found it abandoned by the enemy. Sergeant Rogers never received the reward promised by General Forbes and the other English officer; but some time afterward he was compensated by a modest sum from the colony of North Carolina.[55]


A series of unfortunate occurrences, chiefly the fault of the whites, soon resulted in the precipitation of a terrible Indian outbreak. A party of Cherokees, returning home in May 1758, seized some stray horses on the frontier of Virginia-never dreaming of any wrong, says an old historian, as they saw it frequently done by the whites. The owners of the horses, hastily forming a party, went in pursuit of the Indians and killed twelve or fourteen of the number. The relatives of the slain Indians, greatly incensed, vowed vengeance upon the whites.56 Nor was the tactless conduct of Forbes calculated to quiet this resentment; for when Atta-kulla-kulla and nine other chieftains deserted in disgust at the treatment accorded them, they were pursued by Forbes's orders, apprehended and disarmed.57 This rude treatment, coupled with the brutal and wanton murder of some Cherokee hunters a little earlier by an irresponsible band of Virginians under Captain Robert Wade, still further aggravated the Indians.58

Incited by the French, who had fled to the southward after the fall of Fort Duquesne, parties of bloodthirsty young Indians rushed down upon the settlements and left in their path and desolation along the frontiers of the Carolinas.59 On the upper branch of the Yadkin and below the South Yadkin near Fort Dobbs twenty-two whites fell in swift succession before the secret onslaughts of the savages fro~m the lower Cherokee towns.60 Many of the settlers along the Yadkin fled to the Carolina Fort at Bethabara and the stockade at the mill; and the sheriff of Rowan County suffered siege by the Cherokees, in his home, until rescued by a detachment under Brother Loesch from Bethabara. While many families took refuge in Fort Dobbs, frontiersmen under Captain Morgan Bryan ranged through the mountains to the west of Salisbury and guarded the settlements from the hostile incursions of the savages. So gravely alarmed were the Rowan settlers, compelled by the Indians to desert their planting and crops, that Colonel Harris was despatched post-haste for aid to Cape Fear, arriving there on in July 1st. With strenuous energy Captain Waddell, then stationed in the east rushed two companies of thirty men each to the rescue, sending by water-carriage six swivel guns and ammunition on before him and these reinforcements brougtt relief at last to the harassed Rowan frontiers.61 During the remainder of the year, the borders were kept clear by bold and tireless rangers--under the leadership of expert Indian fighters of the stamp of Griffith Rutherford and Morgan Bryan.

When the Cherokee warriors who had wrought havoc along the North Carolina border in April arrived at their town of Settiquo they proudly displayed the twenty-two scalps of the slain Rowan settlers. Upon the demand for these scalps by Captain Demere at Fort Loudon and under direction of kulla-kulla, the Settiquo warriors surrendered eleven of the scalps to Captain Demere who, according to custom in time of peace, buried them. New murders on Pacolet and along the Virginia Path, which occurred shortly afterward, caused gloomy forebodings; and it was plain, says a contemporary gazette, that "the lower Cherokees were not satisfied with the murder of the Rowan settlers, but intended further mischief."62 On October 1st and again on October 31st, Governor Dobbs received urgent requests from Governor Lyttelton that the 'North Carolina provincials and militia cobperate to bring him assistance. Although there was no law requiring the troops to march out of the province and the exposed frontiers of North Carolina sorely needed protection, Waddell, now commissioned colonel, assembled a force of five small companies and marched to the aid of Governor Lyttleton. But early in January, 1760 while on the march, Waddell received a letter from Lyttleton, informing him that the assistance was not needed and that a treaty of peace had been negotiated with the Cherokees.63


Thus ended the Cherokee war, which was among the last humbling strokes given to the expiring power of France in North America.

--Hewatt: An Historical Account of the Rise and Progress of the Colonies of South Carolina and Georgia. 1779

GOVERNOR LYTTELTON'S treaty of "peace," negotiated with the Cherokees at the close of 1759, was worse than a crime: it was a crass and hideous blunder. His domineering attitude and tyrannical treatment of these Indians had aroused the bitterest animosity. Yet he did not realize that it was no longer safe to trust their word. No sooner did the governor withdraw his army from the borders than the cunning Cherokees, whose passions had been inflamed by what may fairly be called the treacherous conduct of Lyttelton, rushed down with merciless ferocity upon the innocent and defenseless families on the frontier. On February 1, 1760, while a large party (including the family of Patrick Calhoun), numbering in all about one hundred and fifty persons, were removing from the Long Cane settlement to Augusta, they were suddenly attacked by a hundred mounted Cherokees, who slaughtered about fifty of them. After the massacre, many of the children were found helplessly wandering in the woods. One man alone cariied to Augusta no less than nine of the pitiful innocents, some horribly mutilated with the tomahawk, others scalped, and all yet alive.

Atrocities defying description continued to be committed, and many people were slain. The Cherokees, under the leadership of Si-lou-ee, or the Young Warrior of Estatoe, the Round O, Tiftoe, and others, were baffled in their persistent efforts to capture Fort Prince George. On February 16th the crafty Oconostota appeared before the fort and under the pretext of desiring some white man to accompany him on a visit to the governor on urgent business, lured the commander, Lieutenant Coytomore, and two attendants to a conference outside the gates. At a preconceied signal a volley of shots rang out; the two attendants were wounded, and Lieutenant Coytomore, riddled with bullets, fell dead. Enraged by this act of treachery, the garrisson put to death the Indian hostages within. During the abortive attack upon the fort, Oconostota, unaware of the murder of the hostages, was heard shouting above the din of battle: "Fight strong, and you shall be relieved."64

Now began the dark days along the Rowan border, which were so sorely to test human endurance. Many refugees fortified themselves in the different stockades; and Colonel Hugh Waddell with his redoubtable frontier company of Indian-fighters awaited the onslaught of the savages, who were reported to have passed through the mountain defiles and to be approaching along the foot-hills. The story of the investment of Fort Dobbs and the splendidly daring sortie of Waddell and Bailey is best told in Waddell's report to Governor Dobbs (February 29, 1760):

For several Days I observed a small party of Indians were constantly about the fort, I sent out several parties after them to no purpose, the Evening before last between 8 & 9 o'clock I found by the Dogs making an uncommon Noise there must be a party nigh a Spring whicht we sometimes use. As my Garrison is but small, and I was apprehensive it might be a scheme to draw out the Garrison, I took our Capt. Bailie who with myself and party made up ten: We had not marched 300 yds. from the fort when we were attacked by at least 60 or 70 Indians. I had given my party Orders not to fire until I gave the word, which they punctually observed: We recd the Indians' fire: When I perceived they had almost all fired, I ordered my party to fire which We did not further than 12 steps each loaded with a Bullet and 7 Buck Shot, they had nothing to cover them as they were advancing either to tomahawk us or make us Prisoners: They found the fire very hot from so small a Number which a good deal confused them: I then ordered my party to retreat, as I found the Instant our skirmish began another party had attacked the fort, upon our reinforcing the garrison the Indians were soon repulsed with I am sure a considerable Loss, from what I myself saw as well as those I can confide in they cou'd not have less than 10 or 12 killed and wounded; The next Morning we found a great deal of Blood and one dead whom I suppose they cou'd not find in the night. On my side I had 2 Men wounded one of whom I am afraid will die as he is scalped, the other is in way of Recovery, and killed near the fort whom they durst not advance to scalp. I expected they would have paid me another visit last night, as they attack all Fortifications by Night, but find they did not like their Reception.65

Alarmed by Waddell's "offensive-defensive," the Indians abandoned the siege. Robert Campbell, Waddell's ranger, who was scalped in this engagement, subsequently recovered from his wounds and was recompensed by the colony with the surnof twenty pounds.66

In addition to the frontier militia, four independent companies were now placed under Waddell's command. Companies of volunteers scoured the woods in search of the lurking Indian foe. These rangers, who were clad in hunting-shirts and buckskin leggings, and who employed Indian tactics in fighting, were captained by such hardy leaders as the veteran Morgan Bryan, the intrepid Griffith Rutherford, the German partisan, Martin Phifer (Pfeiffer), and Anthony Hampton, the father of General Wade Hampton. They visited periodically a chain of "forest castles" erected by the settlers extending all the way from Fort Dobbs and Moravian fortifications in the Wachau to Samuel Stalnaker's stockade on the Middle Fork of the Holston in Virginia. About the middle of March, thirty volunteer Rowan County rangers encountered a band of forty Cherokees, who fortified themselves in a deserted house near the Catawba River. The famous scout and hunder, John Perkins assisted by one of his bolder companions, crept up to the house and flung lighted torches upon the roof. One of the Indians as the smoke became suffocating and the flames burned hotter, exclaimed: "Better for one to die bravely than for all to perish miserably in the flames," and darting forth, dashed rapidly hither and thither, in order to draw as many shots as possible. This act of superb self-sacrifice was successful; and while the rifles of the whites, who riddled the brave Indian with balls, were empty, the other savages made a wild dash for liberty. Seven fell thus under the deadly rain of bullets; but many escaped. Ten of the Indians, all told lost their scalps, for which the volunteer rangers were subsequently paid one hundred pounds by the colony of North Carolina.67

Beaten back from Fort Dobbs, sorely defeated along the Catawba, hotly pursued by the rangers, the Cherokees continued to lurk in the shadows of the dense forests, and at every opportunity to fall suddenly upon wayfaring settlers and isolated cabins remote from any stronghold. On March 8th William Fish, his son, and Thompson, a companion, were riding along the "trace," in search of provisions for a group of families fortified on the Yadkin, when a ffight of arrows hurtled from the cane-brake, and Fish and his son fell dead. Although pierced with two arrows, one in the hip and one clean through his body, Thompson escaped upon his fleet horse; and after a night of ghastly suffering finally reached the Carolina Fort at Bethabara. The good Dr. Bonn, by skilfully extracting the barbed shafts from his body, saved Thompson's life. The pious Moravians rejoiced over the recovery of the brave messenger, whose sensational arrival gave them timely warning of the close of the Indians. While feeding their cattle settlers were shot from ambush by the lurking foe; and on March 11th, a family barricaded within a burning house, which they were defending with desperate courage, were rescued in the nick of time by the militia. No episode from Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstockings Tales surpasses in melaneho1y interest Harry Hicks's heroic defense of his little fort on Bean Island Creek. Surrounded by the Indians, Hicks and his family took refuge within the small outer palisade around his humble home. Fighting desperately against terrific odds, he was finally driven from his yard into log cabin, which he continued with dauntless courage. With every shot he tried to send a redskin to the happy hunting-grounds; and it was only after his powder was exhausted that he fell, fighting to the last, beneath the deadly tomahawk. So impressed were the Indians by his bravery that they spared the life of his wife and his little son; and these were afterward rescue by Waddell when he marched to the Cherokee towns in 1761.68

The kindly Moravians had always entertained with generous hospitality the roving bands of Cherokees, who accordingly held them in much esteem and spoke of Bethabara as "the Dutch Fort, where there are good people and much bread." But now, in these dread days, the truth of their daily text was brought forcibly home to the Moravians: "Neither Nehemiah nor his brethren put off their clothes, but prayed as they watched." With Bible in one hand and rifle in the other, the inhabitant of Wachovia sternly marched to religious worship. No Puritan of bleak New England ever showed more resolute courage or greater will to defend the hard-won outpost of civilization than did the pious Moravian of Wachau. At the new settlement of Bethania on Easter Day, more than four hundred souls, including sixty rangers, listened devoutly to the eloquent sermon of Bishop Spangenberg concerning the way of salvation--the while their arms, stacked without the Gemein Haus, were guarded by the watchful sentienel. On March 14th the watchmen at Bethania with well-aimed shots repelled the the Indians, whose hideous yells of baffled rage sounded down the wind like "the howling of a hundred wolves." Religion was no protection against the savages; for three ministers journeying to the present site of Salem were set upon by the red men-one escaping, another suffering capture, and the third, a Baptist losig his life. A little later word came to Fort Dobbs that John Long and Robert Gillespie of Salisbury had been shot from ambush and scalped-Long having been pierced with eight bullets and Gillespie with seven.69

There is is one beautiful incident recorded by the Moravians, which has a truly symbolic significance. While the war was at its height, a strong party of Cherokees, who had lost thier chief, planned in retaliation to attack Bethabara. "When they went home," sets forth the Moravian Diary, "they said they had been to a great town, where there were a great many people, where the bells rang often, and during the night, time after time, a horn was blown, so that they feared to attack the town and had taken no prisoners." The trumpet of the hour, watchman, announcing the passing of the hour had convinced the Indians that their plans for attack were discovered; and the regular evening bell, summoning the pious to prayer, rang in the stricken ears of the red men like the clamant call to arms.


Following the retirement from office of Governor Lyttelton, Lieutenant-Governor Bull proceeded to prosecute the war with vigor. On April 1, 1760, twelve hundred men under Colonel Archibald Montgomerie arrived at Charleston, with instructions to strike an immediate blow and to relieve Fort Loudon, then invested by the Cherokees. With his own force two hundred and ninety-five South Rangers, forty picked men of the new "levies" and "a good number of guides," Montgomerie moved from Fort Ninety-Six on May 28th. On the first of June, crossing Twelve-Mile River, Montgomerie began the campaign in earnest, devastating and burning every Indian village in the Valley of Keowee, killing and capturing more than a hundred of the Cherokees, and destroying immense stores of corn. Receiving no reply to his summons to the Cherokees of the Middle and Upper Towns to make peace or suffer like treatment, Montgomerie took up his march from Fort Prince George on June 24th, resolved to carry out his threat. On the morning of the 27th, he was drawn into an ambuscade within six miles of Et-chow-ee, eight miles south of the present Franklin, North Carolina, a mile and a half below Smith's Bridge, aid was vigorously attacked from dense cover by some six hundred and thirty warriors led by Si-lou-ee. Fighting with Indian tactics, the Provincial Rangers under Patrick Calhoun particularly distinguished themselves; and the blood-curdling yells of the painted savages were responded to by the wild huzzas of the kilted Highlanders who, waving their Scotch bonnets, impetuously charged the redskins and drove them again and again from their lurking-places. Nevertheless Montgomerie lost from eighty to one hundred in killed and wounded, while the loss of the Indians was supposed to be about half the loss of the whites. Unable to care for his wounded and lacking the means of removing his baggage, Montgomerie silently withdrew his forces. In so doing he acknowledged defeat, since he was compelled to abandon his original intention of relieving the beleaguered garrison of Fort Loudon.

Captain Demere and his devoted little band, who had been resolutely holding out, were now left to their tragic fate. After the bread was exhausted, the garrison was reduced to the necessity of eating dogs and horses; and the loyal aid of the Indian wives of some of the garrison, who secretly brought them supplies of food daily enabled them to hold out still longer. Realizing at last the futility of prolonging the hopeless contest, Captain Demere surrendered the fort on August 8, 1760. At daylight the next morning, while on the march to Fort Prince George, the soldiers were set upon by the treacherous Cherokees, who at the first onset killed Captain Demere and twenty-nine others. A humane chieftain, Outassitus, says one of the gazetttes of the day, " went around the field calling upon the Indians to desist, and making such representations to them as stopped the further progress and effects of their barbarous and brutal rage," which expressed itself in scalping and hacking off the arms and legs of the defenseless whites. Atta-kulla-kulla, who was friendly to the whites, claimed Captain Stuart, the second officer, as his captive, and bore him away by stealth. After nine days' journey through the wilderness they encountered an advance party under Major Andrew Lewis, sent out by Colonel Burd, head of a relieving army to rescue and succor any of the garrrison who might effect their escape. Thus Stuart was restored to his friends. This abortive and tragic campaign, in which the victory lay conclusively with the Indians, ended when Byrd disbanded his new levies and Montgomerie sailed from Charleston for the north (August 1760).

During the remainder of the year, the province of North Carolina remained free of further alarms from the Indians. But the view was generally entertained that one more joint effort of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia would have to be made in order to humble the Cherokees. At the sessions of the North Carolina Assembly in November and again in December, matters in dispute between Governor Dobbs and the representatives of the people made impossible the passage of a proposed aid bill, providing for five hundred men to cooperate with Virginia and South Carolina. Nevertheless volunteers in large numbers patriotically marched from North Carolina to Charleston and the Congaree (December, 1760, to April, 1761), to enlist in the famous regiment being organized by Colonel Thomas Middleton.[70] On March 31, 1761, Governor Dobbs called together the Assembly to act upon a letter received from General Amherst, outlining a more vigorous plan of campaign appropriate to the succession of a young and vigorous sovereign, George III. An aid bill was passed, providing twenty thousand pounds for men and supplies; and one regiment of five companies of one hundred men each, under the command of Colonel Hugh Waddell, was mustered into service for seven months' duty, beginning May 1, 1761.[71]


On July 7, 1761, Colonel James Grant, detached from the main army in command of a force of twenty-six hundred men, took up his march from Fort Prince George. Attacked on June 10th two miles south of the spot where Montgomerie was engaged the preceeding year, Grant's army, after a vigorous engagement lasting several hours, drove off the Indians. The army then proceeded at leisure to lay waste the fifteen towns of the Middle Settlements; and, after this work of systematic devastation was over, returned to Fort Prince George. Peace was concluded in September as the result of this campaign; and in consequence the frontier was pushed seventy miles farther to the west.

Meantime, Colonel Waddell with his force of five hundred North Carolinans had acted in concert with Colonel William Byrd, commanding the Virginia detachment. The combined forces went into camp at Captain Samuel Stalnaker's old place on the Middle Fork of Holston. Because of his deliberately dilatory policy, Byrd was superseded in the command by Colonel Adam Stephen. Marching their forces to the Long Island of the Holston, Stephen and Waddell erected there Fort Robinson, in compliance with the instructions of Governor Fauquier of Virginia. The Cherokkes, heartily tired of the war, now sued for peace, which was concluded, independent of the treaty at Charleston, on November 19, 1761.

The successful termination of this campaign had an effect of signal importance in the development of the expansionist spirit. The rich and beautiful lands which fell under the eye of the North Carolina and Virginia pioneers under Waddell, Byrd, and Stephen, lured them irresistibly on to wider casts for fortune and bolder explorations into the unknown, beckoning West.


  1. D.D. Wallace: The Life of Henry Laurens, Appendix iv
  2. See also Hewit in Carroll's Collections, i 435. Fort Prince George was located in the fork of the Six Mile Creek and Keowee River in the southwestern part of Pickens County, and was completed probably by the end of 1753 (South Carolina Gazette, December 17, 1753).
  3. North Carolina Colonial Records, v 140.
  4. Cited in Channing, History of the United States, ii 5-73 n.
  5. North Carolina Colonial Records, v, 333, 357.
  6. Moravian Community Diary.
  7. North Carolina Colonial Records, v, 849.
  8. Virginia Historical Magazine, xiii, 225-264. North Carolina Colonial Records, v, 560, 617.
  9. North Carolina Colonial Records, v, 579.
  10. North Carolina Colonial Records, v, 641, 742, 849, Cf. also Hunter: Sketches of Western North Carolina, 325.
  11. North Carolina Colonial Records, v, 604, 639.
  12. Virginia Historical Magazine, xiii, 263; North Carolina Colonial Records, v, 606, 609, 613.
  13. North Carolina Colonial Records, v, 585, 612-4, 635, 637.
  14. North Carolina Colonial Records, v, 610, Cf. Timberlake's "A Draught of the Cherokee Country" in Avery's History of the United States, iv, facing p 34;7 Ramsey History of Tennessee, 57.
  15. Summers: Southwest Virginia, 57-60.
  16. Virginia Historical Magazine, xv, 254-7 Waddell, Augusta County (second edition), 115-6, 150-1.
  17. North Carolina Colonial Records. v, 606-8.
  18. Summers: Southwest Virginia, 60-1.
  19. Williamson: History of North Carolina, ii, 37, footnote.
  20. North Carolina Colonial Records, viii, 563; xi, map facing p. 80, and p, 227.
  21. North Carolina Colonial Records v Introduction pp xxx xxxi.
  22. Carroll's Collections, i, 433; ii, 519-20 Draper's MS. Life of Boone, iii, 65-6.
  23. Sparks: Washington, ii, 322.
  24. Journal: "Concerning a March that Capt Robt Wade took to the New River," in Summers, Southwest Virginia. 62-66
  25. Carroll's Collections, i, 443-4.
  26. South Carolina Gazette, May 12, 1759.
  27. South Carolina Gazette, July 14, 1759.
  28. South Carolina Gazette, Aug 4, Sept. 22, 1759.
  29. North Carolina Colonial Records, vi, 221.
  30. Draper: MS. Life of Boone, iii, 75.
  31. North Carolina Colonial Records, vi, 229-230.
  32. For a full account of the part which Fort Dobbs played in this Indian warfare see the monograph, Fort Dobbs, by Mrs. M.H. Eliason.
  33. Maryland Gazette, May 8, 1760; Haywood; Natural and Aboriginal History of Tennessee, 239-40; North Carolina Colonial Records, xxii, 622.
  34. "Notes on the Indians and the Early Settlers of Western North Carolina," Collections of the North Carolina Historical Commission. Printed in Papers of A.D. Murphy ii, 380 et. seq.
  35. Maryland Gazette, May 8, 1760.
  36. South Carolina Gazette, Dec, 23, 1760; Feb. 28, April 11. 1761.
  37. North Carolina Colonial Records, vi, 622.

The full text of
The Romantic Story Of The Early Pioneers Into Virginia, The Carolinas, Tennessee, And Kentucky 1740-1790
Archibald Henderson, Ph.D., D.C.L.
is available from Project Gutenberg