Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Aftermath of Fort Meigs

A letter from General Duncan McArthur to Senator Thomas Worthington, 22 May 1813:

Fruit hill May 22nd 1813
Dear Sir,
On last evening I returned from my tour to the West. I set out before you left home with the view of attending to the recruiting service, in the lower end of the state, agreeable to my instructions from the secy of war. On my arrival at Urbana I recd. intelligence that the Cannonading was kept up at Camp Meigs on the 4th, and that no person could pass out or into the Fort. I immediately consulted the militia officers and principal persons in Champaign and Green, on the subject of attempting to raise a volunteer mounted corps, for the purpose of relieving Genl. Harrison, this place was agreed upon and in two days collected and prepared for tile field 331 men about 260 of whom were mounted. Our object was to unite with the forces under Governor Meigs from the Scioto and upper end of the state; at, or near Fort Findlay, and then force our way into Camp Meigs. I dispatched expresses, both to the governor and Genl. Harrison, &etc, at the place where I expected to meet the troops from the Scioto, I recd orders from Genl. Harrison to return with the troops which had put themselves under my command and dismiss them at Urbana
when the frontier inhabitants who went with me were about leaving home, many of them expressed an anxiety to have some of those Indians, who reside on our borders and who profess friendship, along with us, by way of security for the good behavior of those who were left at home. consequently I invited a few of those Indians to accompany us. they at first professed a willingness to do so, and promised to meet us at Solomon's Town, as we passed on our way. When we arrived at the place appointed no Indians met with us.
I directed the men to march on, and turned out to inquire as to the cause why the Indians did not come on agreeably to promise  They apologized and said they were not ready but would overtake us in two days. I then followed the detachment and overtook them at McArthur Camp then proceeded with the men to the neighbourhood of. Findlay and (after receiving Genl Harrison's orders) returned in five days but not an Indian had followed us agreeably to promise. We understand however, that several of their young men disappeared about the time our troops marched, and had not returned, the last account we heard from their camp.
From the disposition that many of those pet Indians evinced during the siege of Camp Meigs, we have good reason to believe that they are only waiting to join the strongest party.
Many of the inhabitants have already fled, and the breaking up of the Northwestern frontier has only been prevented by the military movements of last week. The inhabitants are not only alarmed at the conduct of the Indians, but are extremely jealous of the agents who have the management of Indian affairs and reside on the frontiers. they cannot bear to hear of removing the friendly Indians, within the settlements, as they must either change their residence, or lose their appointments. It is the unanimous wish of all, that you should see the president and secretary of war on this subject and do all in your power to save the lives of the people and the frontier from breaking.
respectfully yours
Duncan McArthur
The frequent calls on the militia of Ohio operates much against the recruit- ing service, whilst from one to two hundred dollars is given for a substitute for a few months we cannot expect to enlist men to advantage., I am confident that we could raise volunteers to any number, if they could chose their officers and be immediately employed in active service
PS The Kentucky troops who were taken at the Rapids are passing this every day. Nothing can equal the barbarous treatment which they received after they were made prisoners. More were killed after they surrendered than there were before and all striped naked and those who survived sent off naked and without provisions.

D McArthur

Letter of General Lewis Cass to Senator Worthington, 24 May 1813:

Near Zanesville May 24th 1813.
Dear Sir,
The particulars of our late alarm and its result you have doubtless learned ere this. I advanced with the troops as far as Lower Sandusky, where meeting Gen. Harrison, we found our farther progress unnecessary.
Mr Dillon of Belmont is anxious to have the appointment of Asst Depy Quarter Master General. I intended to have written to the Secy of war upon the subject, but the multiplicity of his avocations deterred me. I did not wish unnecessarily to trouble him and was confident your personal influence were you disposed to exert it, would have more effect than anything I could say. Unless I am much deceived Dillon would make a zealous active and effi- cient officer. I should be much pleased to see him appointed.
With respect to the Marshal's office I only wait to see my appointment confirmed, if it is to be done, and to see the probable result of the present attempt for peace, before I resign it. I do not wish to thrown myself out of it unnecessarily. My office of Major General I shall also resign.
Although I never intended nor do now intend to make arms my profession, yet I refer it wholly to you whether it is better for me to resign the office of Marshal. I shall be guided wholly by your judgment. Should it be necessary you can say I will resign it, and I will do it immediately. But if it be not necessary I do not wish to do it at present. The recruiting business advances rapidly. We have nearly 600 men enlisted east of the Scioto.
I shall be glad to learn our prospects as it respect peace With sincere esteem I am Dr sir Ever yours
Lew Cass
P.S. On looking back, perhaps I have not been sufficiently explicit upon the subject of the Marshals office. The fact is I do not at present wish to resign it. But if it be judged improper to hold a military appointment con- joined with it, I will do it. L.C.