Root Hog or Die!
Though still insufficiently covered in classrooms, the Battle of Kings Mountain is recognized as the key event in the demonstration of popular southern refusal to submit to Loyalist rule. Even less well-remembered is the smaller Battle of Musgrove’s Mill, without which there may have been no Kings Mountain. It was a little encounter in which just 200 Patriot militiamen faced off against 264 Loyalist regulars and militia. Though small, it sent a strong signal that backcountry Americans simply would not be ruled any longer by a foreign king.
Giving such small battles their due is the purpose of Westholme Publishing’s “Small Battles” series. The Battle of Musgrove’s Mill, 1780 comes from the pen of John Buchanan, the undisputed dean of southern Revolutionary War history. Now in his 90s, Buchanan writes as well as ever. In fewer than a hundred pages, he puts the story in context; explains the British, Tory, Indian, and Patriot perspectives; tells us about the key commanders on both sides; narrates the battle; and tells us why it matters. That is a lot to put into eighty-eight pages of text, but he has done it masterfully.
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The Parrot family were, according to genealogies, among the earliest German-speaking settlers of the Shenandoah Valley in 1734. They are believed to have been Swiss, which would make Jacob and his brothers Joseph and George three of several Swiss-descended soldiers in the 8th Virginia, alongside Chaplain Christian Streit, Lt. Jacob Rinker, and private soldier Joachim Fetzer. The name was originally spelled "Parett" or possibly "Barrett."
What Lieutenant Parrot did when he "left his detachment" is not clear, though the term "detachment" hints that it happened before the regiment was united in the spring of 1777. A fair guess is that he went home sick from the south without permission. After the ignominious end to his military service, he returned to the Shenandoah Valley and remained there until his death in 1829. He is buried next to his wife in a small cemetery northwest of Harrisonburg, several miles south of his old home in Shenandoah County. Though the stones match, it should be noted that one genealogy states that Jacob was never married.
Pat Kelly lives on the east side of the Blue Ridge in Albemarle County, about thirty miles south of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and more than an hour southeast of Jacob Parrot’s resting place. He descends from Jacob’s brother John, making him a 7th great-nephew. He grew up in East Tennessee (where his ancestor founded Parrottsville), but moved to Virginia in 1978 when he retired from the Navy. He has several Revolutionary War ancestors and has been researching Henry to see if he also fought in the war. Henry is listed in the Capt. John Tipton's company of activated Dunmore County Militia during Lord Dunmore’s War (1774), but he was not in the 8th Virginia and further service has not yet been demonstrated.
Fortunately, a search of the cemetery found his marker leaning with more than a dozen others against a concrete riser off to the side of the cemetery and not visible from the other graves. It is severely eroded, but its inscription is intact. It is broken at its base and could not be placed back in the ground in its current state. The stone for Jacob’s wife, Rachel, is still in the ground and is of identical design.
Though intact, Jacob’s and Rachel’s inscriptions are too eroded to be easily legible. Only a few letters can be made out in photographs taken of them in 2013. Pouring water on Jacob’s stone made it only slightly more legible. The full inscription therefore seemed to be lost before a trick of nature revealed the full wording. Very carefully turning the stone to obliquely face the light of the late afternoon sun illuminated the edges of the letters and brought them back to almost full visibility. It reads
Departed this Life
May th[e?] 12 1829 Age[d?]
[7?]2 Years 6 mo 19 d[ays?]
The letters are carefully and somewhat formally executed, the odd mix of capital letters, the variant spelling of "Parrit," the small capital “H” in the second word, and the off-center placement of the fourth and fifth lines indicate that the marker was not made by a professional stone carver. If anything, this makes the memorial even more valuable as a relic of Jacob Parrot’s life. Someone who dearly loved him and his wife appears to have worked the stones to honor them. What at first look like scratches near the top of Jacob’s marker seem on closer inspection to be a decoration of some kind, perhaps a flower.
In Parrot’s case, it may be possible to craft a facsimile of the original stone. Then he and Rachel could continue to have matching stones as they have for two centuries. A repaired original could be reset upright at the correct angle to catch the rays of the late-day sun. Or it could be taken to the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society’s museum. At all costs, it should not disappear into someone’s garage.
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Cooper was the lieutenant commandant, or “captain lieutenant,” of Col. John Neville’s company of the 4th Virginia Regiment. This was a new rank for the Continental Army modeled on British practice that resulted from a cost-saving reduction in the number of officers. As the regiment’s senior lieutenant, Cooper led a company nominally under the direct command of the colonel. Perhaps Abraham Kirkpatrick, the man who shot him, thought Cooper was putting on airs.
Whatever his reason, Kirkpatrick was clearly the aggressor. He attacked Cooper with a stick. Cooper apparently had a more peaceful temperament and showed no “disposition to demand satisfaction.” The era’s code of honor, however, required him to make the challenge. His peers could not abide Cooper’s reluctance to stand up for himself and told him that “unless he did, he must leave the Regiment, as they were Determined he should not rank as an Officer.” Cooper reluctantly complied. He and Kirkpatrick faced off with pistols and the hapless lieutenant took a ball of lead to his leg. The limb was amputated and he was transferred to the Corps of Invalids. He was one of the very last men discharged from the army at the end of the war.
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What Are Unalienable Rights?
Professor Muñoz argues persuasively, however, that scholars, lawyers, and judges have all done a consistently sloppy job of seeking to understand what the founders actually meant by the words they used. So much so, in fact, that the original meaning of the Establishment and Free Expression clauses has effectively been lost. The result is that the text has become an ideological Rorschach test. It can be made to mean almost anything. “The consensus that the Founders’ understanding should serve as a guide has produced neither agreement nor coherence in church-state jurisprudence,” Dr. Muñoz writes. “Indeed, it has produced the opposite; it seems that almost any and every church-state judicial position can invoke the Founders’ support.
Many readers will be surprised to hear that the Founders themselves are largely to blame for this. The language of the First Amendment itself (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”) is not very precise. The reason for this is that “Many, if not most, of the individuals who drafted the First Amendment did not think it was necessary.” Establishment was a state issue and the Federal constitution already banned religious tests in Article VI. It was the Anti-Federalists who insisted on the Bill of Rights, but they were in the minority in the 1st Congress.
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The Stamp Act and Captain Berry
At the peak of his career, Mercer was selected by the Ohio Company of land speculators to represent their interests in London. The hated 1765 Stamp Act was enacted by Parliament while he was traveling. Not fully aware of sentiments at home, he accepted an appointment as Stamp Master for Virginia. He was overtaken by a mob and forced to resign when he returned to Virginia. Though the cheering crowd carried him out of the capitol in Williamsburg in celebration, Mercer soon left the colony for good.
Less than two years later, the Frederick Committee of Safety chose Thomas to lead a new company of Provincial soldiers, which was then assigned to the 8th Virginia Regiment. He continued to lead his men until their enlistments expired at Valley Forge in April of 1778 and then returned home to lead what appears to have been a quiet life. He died in 1818.
Benjamin, the older brother, was the founder of Berryville—a town just north and west of the old Mercer property. Benjamin is better remembered because of his namesake town, but Thomas’s military service deserves to be remembered as well.
Read More: "Lost & Found: James Kay & Thomas Berry"
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The Fort Gower Resolves
Virginia, Britain’s oldest and biggest American colony, had charter territory reaching all the way to the Mississippi. While the colony made a genuine effort to respect Indian rights by barring western settlement on land not acquired by treaty, individual settlers ignored these restraints. In 1768, the Treaty of Fort Stanwix extended the settlement line to the Ohio River and opened what are now Kentucky and trans-Appalachian West Virginia to settlement. The treaty was made with the Iroquois, who claimed authority over the region. However, the tribes who actually lived there objected and in 1774 that lead to war.
Tensions were also starting to boil over between the colonies and the Great Britain. Most Americans strongly objected to Parliament’s levying of “internal” taxes on the colonies because they had no elected representation in London. Parliament clamped down hard on Massachusetts after the Boston Tea Party by blockading Boston Harbor and taking other measures.
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Catholics and the Founding
He described the priest’s ornate vestments, the beautiful music, and the bloody crucifix above the altar. “Here is every Thing which can lay hold of the Eye, Ear, and Imagination. Every Thing which can charm and bewitch the simple and ignorant. I wonder how Luther ever broke the spell.” He admitted, though, that the sermon was good.
Protestants’ views of Catholics aside, it was the Church itself, and more specifically the Papacy, that presented a problem for the British Empire. The influential political thinker John Locke asserted in his 1689 Letter Concerning Toleration that a “church can have no right to be tolerated by the magistrate, which is constituted upon such a bottom, that all those who enter into it . . . deliver themselves up to the protection and service of another prince.” By tolerating such a church, a ruler would “suffer his own people, to be lifted, as it were, for soldiers against his own government.” The example he used was Islam, but it was Catholicism he was concerned about.
Michael Breidenbach is a Cambridge University-educated associate history professor at Ave Maria University, an orthodox Catholic school in Florida. His book Our Dear-Bought Liberty: Catholics and Religious Toleration in Early America illustrates the remarkably rapid transformation of Americans’ treatment of Catholics during the Founding Era. Irish Catholics like Capt. John Barry, Lt. Col. John Fitzgerald, and Col. Stephen Moylan played important roles in the Continental Navy and Army. Maryland’s Charles Carroll signed the Declaration of Independence and held a seat on the Continental Congress’s powerful Board of War. Generals Lafayette and Pulaski were both Catholic, as were the French and Spanish empires that came to America’s aid.
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While the Grand Union flag and the Stars and Stripes may have appeared on some battlefields, they were more likely to be seen on forts and ships. Virginia had no state flag until the Civil War. Every regiment, however, had a flag that served important symbolic and battlefield purposes. Regimental flags were unique works of art, often featuring symbols from antiquity or popular culture with mottos in English or Latin. The flags of the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment and Connecticut’s 2nd Continental Light Dragoons are among the very few that survive.
There is, however, an 8th Virginia flag that still exists—but it is not the regimental banner. It is a “grand division standard,” one of two that were used to direct halves of the regiment on the battlefield. These were utilitarian devices with little ornamentation. The most important thing about them was their color.
Henry A. Muhlenberg was at that time preparing to publish a biography of his great uncle, the still-useful (but occasionally inaccurate) Life of Major-General Peter Muhlenberg of the Revolutionary Army. The younger Muhlenberg was a member of Congress and quite knowledgeable about his pedigree, but his description of the flag as “the regimental color” was wrong.
“That was all I heard of it for several years,” Rob reported.
Sometime later, “Mr. Goetz passed away and [in 2012] his descendants placed all his historical artifacts up for auction at Freeman’s Auction in Philadelphia. Prior to the auction, Freeman’s brought it to Shenandoah County to be displayed. I was lucky that I found out about it just a couple of days prior to the event. I contacted my friend Erik [Dorman] who also was interested in writing about the 8th and we decided to show up in our uniforms. We caused quite a stir when we walked around the corner of the Courthouse into the square. We were immediately enlisted to "guard" the flag and unveil it during the event.”
With it were two smaller, plainer flags of identical design but different colors. The 3rd Detachment was an ad hoc unit cobbled together under Col. Abraham Buford in 1780 from new recruits and soldiers who had avoided capture at Charleston earlier that year. The flags were used at the Waxhaws in South Carolina on May 29 when Tarlton defeated Buford there. It is unlikely that the flags were made specifically for the detachment. The regimental flag is described in detail in a 1778 inventory of then-new flags known as the “Gostelowe Return.” The flags were probably, therefore, inherited from a regiment that was folded into Buford’s detachment. Buford had been colonel of the 11th Virginia, and a number of the men in his detachment were reportedly from the 2nd Virginia. The flag could have come from either of those, or from another.
The two “grand division” flags from the Buford detachment are almost identical, except for their colors, to the Muhlenberg flag. Buford’s maneuvering flags are blue and yellow. The Muhlenberg flag is a beige color today and was described as a “salmon” color in 1847. A fabric expert advises that the original color was red. The flag has faded considerably just from its time in the frame. It is not hard to imagine it having faded from red to a salmon color over the century or so before it was framed by Mr. Goetz.
The scrolls on the blue and yellow flags contain only the word "regiment." The word is not centered in the scroll, suggesting that a space was retained to the left on both flags to be filled in when they were assigned to a specific regiment. The writing in the 8th Virginia's scroll is illegible now. It was retouched on one side by Mr. Goetz or a previous owner to say "VIII Virg Regt." The 1847 account in the Richmond Whig says the scroll was styled a bit differently as "VIII Virga Regt."
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The Dunmore & Frederick Resolves
Several counties proceeded to draft "resolves" or resolutions asserting their rights and proclaiming their loyalty to King George III in a sometimes subtly conditional way. Among them was the following declaration from Dunmore County, which was selected from the many at hand by Mrs. Rind for publication. It was drawn up by a committee chaired by Rev. Peter Muhlenberg, the future colonel of the 8th Virginia. Also on the committee were future lieutenant colonel Abraham Bowman, future lieutenant Taverner Beale, and the brother of future captain George Slaughter. They borrowed the text from neighboring Frederick County. The two counties had a shared history: Dunmore was carved out of Frederick in 1772. Muhlenberg may also have felt comfortable borrowing the text in part because Frederick's committee was similarly led by an Anglican clergyman: Rev. Charles Mynn Thruston.
Rind misspelled Muhlenberg's name two different ways, indicating that he was not yet well known in Williamsburg. The word "votes" was set in capital letters where the word "resolves" would make more sense—another apparent error. Dunmore County was renamed "Shenandoah" County during the Revolution.
Only one other 8th Virginia county issued resolves that summer. Culpeper County produced its document on July 7, but the text is evidently lost. The document below predates both the First Virginia Convention and the First Continental Congress. More counties issued resolutions after the First Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Association, formalizing a uniform boycott and calling upon county committees in all of the colonies to enforce it. Augusta, Berkeley, Fincastle, and Hampshire counties issued resolutions 1775 and raised companies for the 8th Virginia the following spring. The resolutions from Augusta and Fincastle survive. Fincastle's resolution is famous for being the first to openly threaten war.
The Dunmore Resolves
At a meeting of the freeholders and other inhabitants of the county of Dunmore, held at the town of Woodstock, the 16th day of June, 1774, to consider the best mode to be fallen upon to secure their liberties and properties, and also to prevent the dangerous tendency of an act of parliament, passed in the 14th year of his present majesty’s reign, intituled an act to discontinue in such manner and for such time as we therein mention the landing and discharging, lading or shipping of goods, wares, and merchandize, at the town and within the harbour of Boston, in the province of Massachusetts Bay, in North America, evidently has to invade and deprive us of the same, the reverend Peter Mechlenberg being voted moderator, a committee of the following gentlemen, viz. the reverend Peter Mechlenberg, Francis Slaughter, Abraham Bird, Taverner Beale, John Tipton, and Abraham Bowman were appointed to draw up resolves to the same occasion, who withdrawing, for a short time, returned with the following VOTES, which had been previously agreed to and voted by the freeholders and inhabitants of the county of Frederick:
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Biggs and Brady at Fort McIntosh
Samuel Brady of the 8th Pennsylvania was a military legend in his own time and the stories of at least some of his exploits have likely been embellished in the retelling. The Biggs and Brady families lived within two miles of each other and were, according to Brady's son, "always o the most intimate term." This story appeared in Graham's Illustrated Magazine in February 1857. The Philadelphia-based magazine did not identify the author. The story is dramatically told, betraying at least some artistic license. There are also some small identifiable inaccuracies (Col. Daniel Brodhead is called "General Richard Brodhead"). While some skepticism is warranted about its details, there is no reason to doubt that the story's basic elements are true. The story was instantly popular, reappearing in numerous publications through the 1880s. Biggs went on to become a general of Virginia militia, playing a role in suppressing the Whiskey Rebellion in 1792. At roughly the same time, Brady was tried in court for murdering Indians, but he was acquitted by the jury.
The Knife and Tomahawk
An Unpublished Incident in the Life of Capt. Samuel Brady
About thirty miles below the present city of Pittsburg, stood an ancient fort, known as Fort McIntosh. It was built by a revolutionary general of that name, in the summer of 1778. It was one of a line of forts, which was intended to guard the people who lived south of the Ohio river, from the incursions of the savages to the northward. This fort was one of the favorite resorts of the great Indian spy and hunter, Captain Samuel Brady. Although his usual head-quarters: was Pittsburg, then consisting of a rude fort and a score or two of rough frontier tenements.
Brady had emigrated westward, or rather had marched thither in 1778, as a lieutenant in the distinguished Eighth Pennsylvania Regiment, under the command of General Richard Broadhead, of Easton. When, in the spring of 1779, McIntosh retired from command in the West, Broadhead succeeded him, and remained at Pittsburg until 1781. Shortly after his advent to the west, Brady was brevetted Captain.
Having premised this much by way of introduction, it brings us to the opening of our story. On the 2lst day of August, 1779, Brady set out from Fort McIntosh, for Pittsburg. He had with him two of his trusty and well-tried followers. These were not attached to the regular army, as he was, but were scouts and spies, who had been with him upon many an expedition. They were Thomas Bevington and Benjamin Biggs. Brady resolved to follow the northern bank of the Ohio. Biggs objected to this, upon the ground, as Brady well knew, that the woods were swarming with savages. Brady, however, had resolved to travel by the old Indian path, and having once made up his mind, no consideration could deter him from carrying out his determination. Bevington had such implicit faith in his ability to lead, that he never thought of questioning his will.
But, as they approached the edge of the clearing, just outside of the fence, Brady discovered “Indian signs,” as he called them. His companions discovered them almost as quick as he, and at once, in low tones, communicated to each other the necessity for a keen watch. They slowly trailed them along the side of the fence toward the house, whose situation they well knew, until they stood upon the brow of the bluff bank which overlooked it. A sight of the most terrible description met their eyes. The cabin lay a mass of smouldering ruins; from whence a dull blue smoke arose in the clear August sunshine. They observed closely everything about it. Brady knew it was customary for the Indians after they had fired a settler’s cabin, if there was no immediate danger, to retire to the woods close at hand, and watch for the approach of any member of the family who might chance to be absent when they made the descent. Not knowing but that they were even then lying close by, he left Bevington to watch the ruins, lying under cover, whilst he proceeded to the northward, and Biggs southward, to make discoveries. Both were to return to Bevington, if they found no Indians. If they came across the perpetrators, and they were too numerous to be attacked regularly, Brady declared it to be his purpose to have one fire at them, and that it should be a signal for both of his followers to make the best of their way to the fort.
All this rapidly transpired, and with Brady to decide, was to act. As he stole cautiously round to the northern side of the inclosure, he heard a voice in the distance singing. He listened keenly, and soon discovered from its intonations, that it was a white man’s. He passed rapidly in the direction whence the sound came. As it approached, he concealed himself behind the trunk of a large tree. Presently a white man, riding a fine horse, came slowly down the path. The form was that of Albert Gray, the stalwart, brave, devil-may-care settler, who had built him a home miles away from the fort, where no one would dare to take a family, except himself.
Gray, with the instinctive feeling of one who knew there was danger, and with that vivid presence of mind which characterizes those acquainted with frontier life, ceased at once to struggle. The horse had been started by the sudden onslaught, and sprung to one side. Ere he had time to leap forward, Brady had caught him by the bridle. His loud snorting threatened to arouse any one who was near. The Captain soon soothed the frightened animal into quiet.
Gray now hurriedly asked Brady what the danger was. The strong, vigorous spy, turned away his face unable to answer him. The settler’s already excited fears were thus turned into realities. “The manly form shook like an aspen leaf, with emotion—tears fell as large drops of water over his bronzed face. Brady permitted the indulgence for a moment, whilst he led the horse into a thicket close at hand and tied him. When he returned Gray had sunk to the earth and great tremulous convulsions writhed over him. Brady quietly touched him upon the shoulder and said, “Come.” He at once arose, and had gone but a few yards until every trace of emotion had apparently vanished. He was no longer the bereaved husband and father—he was the sturdy, well-trained hunter, whose ear and eye were acutely alive to every sight or sound, the waving of a leaf or the crackling of the smallest twig.
He desired to proceed directly toward the house, but Brady objected to this, and they passed down toward the river bank. As they proceeded, they saw from the tracks of horses and moccasin prints upon the places where the earth was moist, that the party was quite a numerous one. After thoroughly examining every cover and possible place of concealment, they passed on to the southward and came back in that direction to the spot where Bevington stood sentry. When they reached him they found that Biggs had not returned. In a few minutes he came. He reported that the trail was large and broad; the Indians had taken no pains to conceal their tracks—they simply had struck back into the country, so as to avoid coming in contact with the spies whom they supposed to be lingering along the river.
The whole four now went down to the cabin and carefully examined the ruins. After a long and minute search, Brady declared in an authoritative manner, that none of the inmates had been consumed. This announcement at once dispelled the most harrowing fears of Gray. As soon as all that could be discovered had been ascertained, each one of the party proposed some course of action. One desired to go to Pittsburg and obtain assistance—another thought it best to return to McIntosh and get some volunteers there—Brady listened patiently to both these propositions, but arose quickly, after talking a moment apart with Biggs, and said, “Come.”
Gray and Bevington obeyed at once, nor did Biggs object. Brady struck the trail and began pursuit in that tremendous rapid manner for which he was so famous. It was evident that if the savages were overtaken, it could only be done by the utmost exertion. They were some hours ahead, and from the number of their horses must be nearly all mounted. Brady felt that if they were not overtaken that night, pursuit would be utterly futile. It was evident that this band had been south of the Ohio and plundered the homes of other settlers. They had pounced upon the family of Gray upon their return.
At last, convinced from the general direction in which the trail led, that he could divine with absolute certainty the spot where they would ford that stream, he abandoned it and struck boldly across the country. The accuracy of his judgment was vindicated by the fact, that from an elevated crest of a long line of hills, he saw the Indians with their victims just disappearing up a ravine on the opposite side of the Beaver. He counted them as they slowly filed away under the rays of the declining sun. There were thirteen warriors, eight of whom were mounted—another woman, besides Gray’s wife, was in the cavalcade, and two children besides his—in all, five children.
The odds seemed fearful to Biggs and Bevington; although Brady made no comments. The moment they had passed out of sight, Brady again pushed forward with unflagging energy, nor did his followers hesitate. There was not a man among them whose muscles were not tenseand rigid as whip-cord, from exercise and training, from hardship and exposure. Gray’s whole form seemed to dilate into twice its natural size at the sight of his wife and children. Terrible was the vengeance he swore.
Just as the sun set, the spies forded the stream and began to ascend the ravine. It was evident that the Indians intended to camp for the night some distance up a small creek or run, which debouches into Beaver River, about three miles from the location of Fort McIntosh, and two below the ravine. The spot, owing to the peninsular form of the tongue of the land lying west of the Beaver, at which they expected to encamp, was full ten miles from that fort. Here there was a famous spring, so deftly and cunningly situated in a deep dell, and so densely inclosed with thick mountain pines, that there was little danger of discovery! Even they might light a fire and it could not be seen one hundred yards.
The proceedings of their leader, which would have been totally inexplicable to all others, were partially, if not fully, understood by his followers. At least, they did not hesitate or question him. When dark came, Brady pushed forward with as much apparent certainty as he had done during the day. So rapid was his progress, that the Indians had but just kindled their fire and cooked their meal, when their mortal foe, whose presence they dreaded as much as that of the small-pox, stood upon a huge rock looking down upon them.
His party had been left a short distance in the rear, at a convenient spot, whilst he went forward to reconnoitre. There they remained impatiently for three mortal hours. They discussed in low tones the extreme disparity of the force—the propriety of going to McIntosh to get assistance. But all agreed that if Brady ordered them to attack, success was certain. However impatient they were, he returned at last.
He described to them how the women and children lay within the centre of a crescent formed by the savages as they slept. Their guns were stacked upon the right, and most of their tomahawks. The arms were not more than fifteen feet from them. He had crawled within fifty feet of them, when the snortings of the horses, occasioned by the approach of a wild beast, had aroused a number of the savages from their light slumbers, and he had been compelled to lie quiet for more than an hour until they slept again,
After each fairly understood the duty assigned him, the slow, difficult, hazardous approach began. They continued upon their feet until they had gotten within one hundred yards of the foe, and then lay down upon their bellies and began the work of writhing themselves forward like a serpent approaching a victim. They at last reached the very verge of the line, each man was at his post, save Biggs, who had the farthest to go. Just as he passed Brady’s position, a twig cracked roughly under the weight of his body, and a huge savage, who lay within the reach of Gray’s tomahawk, slowly sat up as if startled into this posture by the sound. After rolling his eyes, he again lay down and all was still.
Full fifteen minutes passed ere Biggs moved; then he slowly went on. When he reached his place, a very low hissing sound indicated that he was ready, Brady in turn reiterated the sound as a signal to Gray and Bevington to begin. This they did in the most deliberate manner. No nervousness was permissible then. They slowly felt for the heart of each savage they were to stab, and then plunged the knife. The tomahawk was not to be used unless the knife proved inefficient. Not a sound broke the stillness of the night as they cautiously felt and stabbed, unless it might be that one who was feeling would hear the stroke of the other’s knife and the groan of the victim whom the other had slain. Thus the work proceeded. Six of the savages were slain. One of them had not been killed outright by the stab of Gray. He sprang to his feet, but as he arose to shout his war cry, the tomahawk finished what the knife had begun. He staggered and fell heavily forward, over one who had not yet been reached. He in turn started up, but Brady was too quick, his knife reached his heart and the tomahawk his brain almost at the same instant.
All were slain by the three spies, except one. He started to flee, but a rifle shot by Biggs rang merrily out upon the night air and closed his career. The women and children, alarmed by the contest, fled wildly to the woods; but when all had grown still and they were called, they returned, recognizing amid their fright the tones of their own people. The whole party took up their march for McIntosh at once. About sunrise next morning the sentries of the fort were surprised to see the cavalcade of horses, men, women and children, approaching the fort. When they recognized Brady, they at once admitted him and the whole party,
In the relation of the circumstances afterward, Bevington claimed to have killed three and Gray three. Thus Brady, who claimed nothing, must have slain at least six, whilst the other two slew as many. The thirteenth Biggs shot.
From that hour to this, the spring is called the “Bloody Spring!” and the small run is called, ‘‘Brady’s Run.” Few, even of the most curious of the people living in the neighborhood, know aught of the circumstances which conferred these names; names which will be preserved by tradition forever. Thus ended one of the very many hand-to-hand fights which the great spy had with the savages. His history is fuller of daring incident, sanguinary, close, hard contests, perilous explorations and adventurous escapes, than that of either of the Hetzels, of Boone or Kenton. He saw more service than any of them, and his name was known as a bye-word of terror among the Indian tribes, from the Susquehanna to Lake Michigan.
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is researching the history of the Revolutionary War's 8th Virginia Regiment. Its ten companies formed on the frontier, from the Cumberland Gap to Pittsburgh.
Artifacts & Memorials
Brandywine & Germantown
Charleston & Sunbury
Other Revolutionary War
Trenton & Princeton
Valley Forge & Monmouth