A Journal Of An Indian Captivity During Pontiac’s Rebellion In The Year 1763, By Mr John Rutherfurd, Afterward Captain, 42nd Highland Regiment


Several of us were walking along the shore of the lake when we were alarmed by the cries of the savages, which made us take to our heels and endeavor to gain the breastwork as fast as possible. I very nearly fell into the hands of the enemy again upon this occasion, as I had happened to stray from the rest of my companions. They rushed out of the woods upon one poor soldier of the 60th Regiment, who happened to be nearer them. He knocked down the first savage who reached him, but the second cut him with his tomahawk, which felled him to the ground. Neither that nor their scalping deprived him immediately of life. As soon as the Indians left him for dead, he got up and staggered toward the foot of the hill. The Indians were still firing upon us, and not a man dared venture to bring the poor fellow up the hill, who by this time had become insensible. We frequently called to him, but he paid no attention and wandered a little farther, where some days later, when the Indians were gone, we found him dead under an old tree.


For my own part, I had much ado to regain the top of the hill. I was hotly pursued, and in my flight, in scrambling through the bushes, both my shoes fell into their hands. This was a loss I regretted but little. As soon as we reached the breastwork they fired very hot upon us, which we returned. Our works being very open, we had several of our men killed. The Indians left us the next day, but we were detained upon this spot, which we called Lovers Leap, for twenty-four days before we could get a reinforcement of bateaux to carry us back to Niagara. It was here I first entered upon duty as a military man. Every one took his turn of duty as a common soldier. We marched over the carrying place at the Falls of Niagara just three days after the Indians had defeated our troops, and saw there about eighty dead bodies, unburied, scalped, and sadly mangled.∗

∗ These were the victims of the massacre at Devil’s Hole, a spectacular chasm in the Niagara River Gorge. At this time a wagon road ran along one edge; and here a British supply train was ambushed by Indians on September 14, 1763. Those white men who were not struck down on the spot were forced over the precipice, along with horses and wagons; only three escaped. Hearing the sound of distant rifle fire, a party of soldiers rushed to help, and was in turn ambushed and nearly wiped out.

When at Niagara, I resolved to tempt fortune no longer in the woods, and determined to go to New York. I arrived here a few days ago, where I expect to remain for some little time with my uncle, and afterwards join the 42nd Regiment, in which I have just got an ensigncy, preparing for an expedition against the Shawnee and Delaware Indians to the westward under the command of Colonel Bouquet. …

I wish you may be able to understand this long, ill-written narrative, which I have written in a great hurry, as when I began I had no idea that I should have swelled it out to the size of a pamphlet. However, if I had had more time, I don’t think that I should have put it into much better language, for having so long been confounded with hearing and speaking different languages, French, Dutch, Chippewa, Ottawa, &c ∗c that it is no wonder I should be at a loss to write or speak that of my native country.