Historical Account of Bouquet's Expedition Against the Ohio Indians in 1764

Bouquet.jpg
Bouquet.jpg

Historical Account of Bouquet's Expedition Against the Ohio Indians in 1764

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In 1763, Ottawa Indian war leader Pontiac, successfully united many of the tribes in the Ohio Country. His goal was to drive all English settlers, traders, and soldiers from the Ohio Country. Colonel Henry Bouquet was chosen to lead an expedition into the Ohio country to put down this Indian uprising, later to be called Pontiac's Rebellion, and this is the story of Bouquet’s Expedition.In the first year of Pontiac's Rebellion, the Indians drove most of the English people from the Ohio Country. The British's two most important fortresses west of the Appalachian Mountains, Fort Detroit and Fort Pitt, nearly fell and the Indians successfully captured Fort Sandusky and murdered the entire garrison. Hundreds of other English colonists either died or were captured.In 1763, Pontiac's War broke out on the frontier and Pontiac began urging the defeated French allies Indian tribes during the French and Indian War to join together to continue the fight against the British. Pontiac initiated attacks on frontier forts and settlements, believing the defeated French would rally and come to their aid. The conflict began with the siege of Fort Detroit. Fort Michilimackinac, Fort Presque Isle, and numerous other frontier outposts were quickly overrunSeveral frontier forts in the Ohio Country had fallen to the allied tribes, and Fort Pitt, Fort Ligionier, and Fort Bedford along Forbes’ road were besieged. Bouquet, who was in Philadelphia, threw together a hastily organized force of 500 men, most of them Scots Highlanders, to relieve the forts. On August 5, 1763, Bouquet and the relief column were attacked by warriors from the Delaware, Mingo, Shawnee, and Wyandot tribes near a small outpost called Bushy Run, in Western Pennsylvania. In a two-day battle, the tribes were defeated by Bouquet's force and Fort Pitt was relieved. The battle marked a turning point in the war.By the autumn of 1764, Bouquet had become the commander of Fort Pitt. To subdue the ongoing Indian uprising, he led a force of nearly 1,500 militiamen and regular British soldiers from the fort into the Ohio Country. Bouquet's force moved westward slowly. He had no intention of surprising the natives. He hoped to avoid battle altogether by convincing the Indians that they had no chance against the sizable number of British soldiers. Bouquet had every intention of destroying the native villages, especially those of the Delaware Indians and the Mingo Indians, in eastern Ohio unless they surrendered and agreed to all of the colonel's demands. In October 1764, Bouquet's army reached the heart of Indian country and shortly thereafter, the Shawnees, Senecas, and Delawares came to Bouquet to sue for peace.As part of the peace treaty, Bouquet demanded the return of all white captives in exchange for a promise not to destroy the Indians' villages or seize any of their land. Over the next several weeks, the Natives brought in their captives and eventually more than two hundred were returned to Bouquet. The return of the captives caused much bitterness among the tribesmen, because many of them had been forcibly adopted into Indian families as small children, and living among the Indians had been the only life they remembered. Some 'white Indians' managed to escape back into the native villages; many others were never exchanged. Warfare on the North American frontier had been brutal, and the killing of prisoners, the targeting of civilians, and other atrocities were widespread, exacerbating Indian hating in the colonies. While the Indians enjoyed some initial success in Pontiac's Rebellion, the sheer number of English colonists in North America and their more advanced weapons meant that the Indians faced difficult odds. And when Pontiac failed to secure any assistance from the remaining French garrisoned in Illinois, peace was sought and hostilities formally concluded. Read more about the historical account of Bouquet’s Expedition in this interesting and fact-filled book. 

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