Page:Messages and Letters of William Henry Harrison Vol. 1.djvu/651

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HARRISON: MESSAGES AND LETTERS

of the town the path descended a steep hill, at the bottom of which was a small creek running through a narrow wet prairie, and beyond this a level plain partially covered with oak timber, and without under-brush. Before the crossing of the creek, the woods were very thick and intersected by deep ravines. No place could be better calculated for the savages to attack with a prospect of success, and the Governor apprehended that the moment the troops descended into the hollow, they would be attacked. A disposition was therefore made of the infantry, to receive the enemy on the left and rear. A company of mounted riflemen was advanced a considerable distance from the left flank to check the approach of the enemy; and the other two companies were directed to turn the enemy's flanks, should he attack from that direction. The dragoons were ordered to move rapidly from the rear and occupy the plain in advance of the creek, to cover the crossing of the army from an attack in front. In this order the troops were passed over; the dragoons were made to advance to give room to the infantry, and the latter having crossed the creek, were formed to receive the enemy in front in one line, with a reserve of three companies—the dragoons flanked by mounted riflemen forming the first line. During all this time, Indians were frequently seen in front and on the flanks. The interpreters endeavored in vain to bring them to a parley. Though sufiiciently near to hear what was said to them, they would return no answer, but continued by gestures to menace and insult those who addressed them. Being now arrived within a mile and a half of the town and the situation being favorable for an encampment, the Governor determined to remain there and fortify his camp, until he could hear from the friendly chiefs, whom he had dispatched from fort Harrison, on the day he had left it, for the purpose of making another attempt to prevent the recurrence to hostilities. These chiefs were to have met him on the way, but no intelligence was yet received from them. Whilst he was engaged in tracing out the lines of the encampment, major Daveiss and several other field officers approached him, and urged the propriety of immediately marching upon the town. The Governor answered that his instructions would not justify his attacking the Indians, as long as there was a probability of their complying with the demands of the government, and that he still hoped to hear