I've been out of the loop for historical blogging for the past few months, as my toddler-aged son has kept my hands more than full. However, I'm hoping to add more updates to this blog very soon. There are lots of interesting historical footnotes and anecdotes I've been uncovering lately.
Here is one account of the November 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe from the Indian point of view, as told to British agent Colonel Matthew Elliot who passed it on to the Governor of Upper Canada, Major General Isaac Brock:
I have the honor to inform you, that just as I had finished writing you yesterday, a Kikapoo Chief who was in the action on the Wabash [the Battle of Tippecanoe, November 7, 1811] arrived here, and reports that without having sent any previous message, Governor Harrison advanced from his fort against the Indians with intention of surrounding the village [Prophets Town] on all sides, that none might escape if they proved refractory.
He completely surrounded it on the Land side, and attempted it by the River, but the Indians boldly order him to desist, or it would not go well with him--he then asked where he could camp, and was told, "wherever he pleased except around their Village--" All this time the Officers and Cavalry had their swords ready drawn and the Infantry were drawn up ready to fire upon them.
He however retreated about a Quarter of a mile over a little rising ground and Camped by a small Rivulet; but before he retreated the Indians took a Negro and threatened to put him to death if he did not inform them of the Governors intention. The Negro told them that he intended to deceive them, and they let him go. And the Governor after he had encamped, sent the same Negro back to them to desire them to sleep sound and be at ease, and not approach his Sentinals lest they should be shot, and that he would not allow any of his people to go near them.
The Indians however had their Piquets to prevent surprize, and often, during the night ordered the American Spies to retire from their Posts, without doing them any injury--Two young Winibiegos, no doubt out of curiosity (for it appears the Indians had no intention to attack but to defend themselves if attacked) went near some of the American Sentinals and were shot at, and fell as wounded men, but on the Sentinals coming up to dispatch them they arose and Tomahawked them.
This insult roused the indignation of the Indians and they determined to be revenged and accordingly commenced the attack at Cock Crowing--They had the Americans between two fires, driven by the Winibiegos, they were received by the Kikapoos, alternately, until about 9 o Clock, when the Indians gave way for want of Arrows and Ammunition. It appears, that not above one hundred Indians fired a shot, the greater number being engaged in plundering and conveying off horses.
The women and children saved themselves by crossing the river during the engagement.
The Americans burned the Prophets Village and all the Corn of the Shawanees, but the Kikapoos saved theirs by having had it previously buried. --Twenty five Indians only are killed; the Kikapoo does not know the number of Americans killed, but he says their loss must have been considerable, not less than one hundred.
The Prophet and his people do not appear as a vanquished enemy; they re-occupy their former ground.
...PS-- The Indian Forces consisted of from 250 to 300 and not more than 100 were ever engaged.
--From E. A. Cruikshank, ed. Documents Relating to the Invasion of Canada and the Surrender of Detroit. (Ottawa: Government Printing Bureau, 1913.)