Ghost Writer To Daniel Boone

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As a result of this association, Boone became the founder of the fort that bears his name to this day, now a lonely, somnolent village between the Kentucky River hills, where the events of history are something less than a memory. To the site of Boonesborough, he brought Rebecca, his wife, and his daughter, Jemima, on the fourteenth of June, 1775, and they were “the first white women that ever stood on the banks of the Kentucke river.”

The Indians persisted in their attempts to harass them out of the land; and, on the fourteenth of July, 1776, they captured Boone’s daughter and the two daughters of Colonel Callaway. Boone and eight men from the fort immediately pursued them and three days later overtook the party, killed two of the Indians, and rescued the girls.

With the coming of reinforcements from North Carolina and a band of 100 Virginians, whom the Indians feared, calling them the Long Knives, open warfare ceased; but the red men continued their insidious forms of annoyance. On the seventh of February, 1778, while he was engaged in making salt at the Blue Licks, Boone, and some thirty others, were captured by the Indians. He was taken to old Chillicothe on the Little Miami River, and from there to Detroit, where the British governor, Henry Hamilton, offered a hundred pounds sterling for his release. The Indians refused the offer and took Boone back to their camp on the Little Miami, where, as a captive, he lived a life far different from that of prisoners in modern wars:

 

At Chelicothe I spent my time as comfortably as I could expect: was adopted according to their custom into a family where I became a son, and had a great share in the affection of my new parents, brothers, sisters, and friends. I was exceedingly familiar and friendly with them, always appearing as cheerful and satisfied as possible, and they put great confidence in me. I often went hunting with them, and frequently gained their applause for my activity at our shooting matches. I was careful not to exceed any of them in shooting; for no other people are more envious than they in this sport.—The Shawanese king took great notice of me, and treated me with profound respect, and entire friendship, often entrusting me to hunt at liberty.

Returning from a hunting trip one day, Boone was alarmed to find that the Indians, in the strength of 450 choice warriors, were planning to march against Boonesborough. He escaped just before sunrise one morning and made his way to the fort, a journey of 160 miles during which he had only one meal. On the eighth of August, the Indian army appeared before the gates. They finally sent a summons to Boone to surrender in the name of His Britannic Majesty. Boone asked for a period of two days to consider the matter, during which time feverish preparations for defense were made within the garrison; and at the end of the period, Boone returned the answer

that we were determined to defend our fort while a man was living—now, said I to their commander, who stood attentively hearing my sentiments, we laugh at all your formidable preparations: But thank you for giving us notice and time to provide for our defense. Your efforts will not prevail; for our gates shall forever deny your admittance.

The hero had defied the enemy. After attempts at subterfuge and a nine-day assault, to which the fort failed to capitulate, the enemy raised the siege and departed.

The crescendo of the Indian wars increased as station after station was attacked. On the fifteenth of August, 1782, about 500 Indians and Canadian French attacked Bryant’s Station near Lexington. In language strangely reminiscent of Caesar’s Gallic Wars, Boone describes the battle:

Without demanding a surrender, they furiously assaulted the garrison, which was happily prepared to oppose them; and, after they had expended much ammunition in vain, and killed the cattle round the fort, not being likely to make themselves masters of this place, they raised the siege and departed in the morning of the third day after they came, with the loss of about thirty killed, and the number of wounded uncertain.

The pursuit of the fleeing savages ended in the bloody Battle of Blue Licks, “the last battle of the Revolution.” On one of the rolling hills south of the Licking River, overlooking the Blue Licks, the carnage of the fifteen minutes of fierce fighting was ghastly. Sixty white men, including two colonels—Todd and Trigg—and Boone’s second son fell. Four of the seven men taken prisoners were barbarously murdered by young warriors being trained in the arts of cruelty. Boone in reflecting on the horror of the battle described the panic and the slaughter and concludes with the laconic statement, “many widows were now made.”

This terrible battle was the end of serious Indian troubles in Kentucky. General Clark’s expedition against them beyond the Ohio left them with little taste for further warfare in Kentucky; and “the great king beyond the waters,” being disappointed in his expectations, had no more reason to encourage their depradations. The settlement of Kentucky was secure. Boone, reviewing the long and harrowing struggle, reflects on his mission and his sacrifice: