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Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies, From The

Mounting two four pounders and four swivels


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was to penetrate up the Ohio

to Fort Pitt, sweeping Kentucky on his way, having light brass cannon for the purpose, joined on his march by all the Indians that could be got to him. He made no doubt, that he could force all West Augusta. This expedition was ordered by the commander in chief of Canada. Destruction seemed to hover over us from every quarter; detached parties of the enemy were in the neighborhood every day, but afraid to attack. I ordered Major Bowman to evacuate the fort at the Cohas, and join me immediately, which he did. Having not received a scrape of a pen from you, for near twelve months, I could see but little probability of keeping possession of the country, as my number of men was too small to stand a siege, and my situation too remote to call for assistance. I made all the preparations I possibly could for the attack, and was necessitated to set fire to some of the houses in town, to clear them out of the way. But in the height of the hurry, a Spanish merchant, who had been at St. Vincenne, arrived, and gave the following intelligence: that Mr. Hamilton had weakened himself, by sending his Indians against the frontiers, and to block up the Ohio; that he had not more than eighty men in garrison, three pieces of cannon, and some swivels mounted; and that he intended to attack this place, as soon as the winter opened, and made no doubt of clearing the western waters by the fall. My situation and circumstances induced me to fall on the resolution of attacking him, before he could collect
his Indians again. I was sensible the resolution was as desperate as my situation, but I saw no other probability of securing the country. I immediately despatched a small galley, which I had fitted up, mounting two four-pounders and four swivels, with a company of men and necessary stores on board, with orders to force her way, if possible, and station herself a few miles below the enemy, suffer nothing to pass her, and wait for further orders. In the mean time, I marched across the country with one hundred and thirty men, being all I could raise, after leaving this place garrisoned by the militia. The inhabitants of the country behaved exceedingly well, numbers of young men turned out on the expedition, and every other one embodied to guard the different towns. I marched the 7th of February. Although so small a body, it took me sixteen days on the route. The inclemency of the season, high waters, &c. seemed to threaten the loss of the expedition. When within three leagues of the enemy, in a direct line, it took us five days to cross the drowned lands of the Wabash river, having to wade often upwards of two leagues, to our breast in water. Had not the weather been warm, we must have perished. But on the evening of the 23rd, we got on dry land, in sight of the enemy; and at seven o'clock, made the attack, before they knew any thing of us. The town immediately surrendered with joy, and assisted in the siege. There was a continual fire on both sides, for eighteen hours. I had no expectation of gaining the fort until the arrival of my artillery. The moon setting about one o'clock, I had an entrenchment thrown up within rifle-shot of their strongest battery, and poured such showers of well directed balls into their ports, that we silenced two pieces of cannon in fifteen minutes, without getting a man hurt.


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