Us And Them

The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated
injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of
an absolute tyranny over these States. To prove this, let facts be submitted
to a candid world...

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to
bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages,
whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages,
sexes and conditions.

The Declaration of Independence
In Congress
July 4, 1776

Posted by sullivan at 01:31 PM | Comments (0)

Ethnic Cleansing?

I flatter myself that the orders with which I was entrusted are fully executed, as we have not left a single settlement or field of corn in the in the country of the Five nations, nor is there the appearance of an Indian on this side of Niagara.

General John Sullivan
Report to Congress
Tioga, New York 1779

Posted by sullivan at 01:31 PM | Comments (0)

Gen. Sherman's Credo

I know it is common, and too common a practice to accuse General Sullivan of having destroyed peach trees and cornfields, and all that nonsense. He had to do it, and he did do it…

Why does the Almighty strike down the tree with lightning? Why does He bring forth the thunderstorm? To purify the air, so that the summer time may come, and the harvest and the fruits. And so with war. When all things ought to be peaceful, war comes and purifies the atmosphere…we are better for it; you are better for it; we are all better for it. Wherever men raise up their hands to oppose this great advancing tide of civilization, they must be swept aside, peaceably if possible, forcibly if we must…

[T]here is plenty of good land on this continent, yet unsettled. If our young men in the east, would go out there [out West] and lay the foundation for future States and future homes, that would be all the battle and we would not have growling about Indians and negroes, and other questions that disturb our politicians today: ...our destiny is not to growl with each other, but to go forth and replenish the earth…and those who obey it will reap the advantage… and I will die in peace, knowing that which we fought for has been fully accomplished.

General William “Tecumseh” Sherman
Sullivan-Clinton Centennial Commemoration
Elmira, New York 1879

Posted by sullivan at 01:33 PM | Comments (0)

Victor's Verses

“The wigwam fell, and the log cabin arose”

“Gwah U Gwah, Welcome to Civilization”

“Scalps in 1779, Brains in 1879”

“From the Trail to the Track”

“The End of Savage Dominion”

“We Live on Soldier’s Land”

Theme Signs and Mottos
Sullivan-Clinton Centennial Celebration
Aurora, Cayuga County, New York
September 24, 1879

Posted by sullivan at 01:34 PM | Comments (0)

No Negotiations

But you will not by any means listen to any overture of peace before the total ruinment of their settlements is effected…. Our future security will be in their inability to injure us… and in the terror with which the severity of the chastisement they receive will inspire them.

George Washington
Orders to Gen. Sullivan
Spring 1779

Posted by sullivan at 01:34 PM | Comments (0)

Promise To Keep

The Indians shall see that we have malice enough in our hearts to destroy everything that contributes to their support.

General John Sullivan
Sullivan-Clinton Campaign
August-September 1779

Posted by sullivan at 01:35 PM | Comments (0)

What Is To Be Done?

The land between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes appears good. Level and well-timbered; affording a sufficiency for twenty elegant townships which, in the process of time, will doubtless add to the importance of America. The communication of the Seneca with Cayuga is passable with boats and is about twenty miles. Whether the God of nature ever designed that so noble a part of His creation should remain uncultivated, in consequence of an unprincipled and brutal part of it, is one of those arcana yet hidden from human intelligence. However, had I any influence in the councils of America, I should not think it an affront to the Divine will, to lay some effectual plan, either to civilize or totally extirpate the race. Counting their friendship is not only a disagreeable task, but impracticable; and if obtained it is of no longer duration than while we are in prosperity and the impending rod threatens their destruction. To starve them is equally impracticable for they feed on air and drink the morning dew...

Major Jeremiah Fogg
Diary Entry
Sullivan-Clinton Campaign
September 1779

Posted by sullivan at 01:35 PM | Comments (0)

Final Lament

We are encircled – we are encompassed. The Evil Spirit rides the blast. The waters are disturbed. They rise. They press upon us and the waves settle over us. We disappear forever. Who, then, lives to mourn us? None! What marks our extermination? Nothing! We are mingled with the common elements.

Sagoyewatha (aka Red Jacket)
Seneca Chief
September 1779

Posted by sullivan at 01:35 PM | Comments (0)

The Aftermath: Impending Starvation

…but the Indians not being supported [by English/Loyalist reinforcements] as they expected, thought of nothing more than carrying off their Families, and we had at this Post the 21st of last month [September, 1779] 5036 to supply with Provisions, and notwithstanding a number of Parties have been sent out since, we have still on the ground 3678 to maintain – I am convinced Your Excellency will not be surprised, if I am extremely alarmed, for to support such a multitude I think will be absolutely impossible.

Col. Mason Bolton (English Commander at Ft. Niagara)
Letter to Gen. Haldimand (English Commander for N. America)
Fort Niagara, New York
October 2, 1779

Posted by sullivan at 10:15 AM | Comments (0)

Ten Years After...

Brothers, you must not think hard if we speak rash, as it comes from a wounded heart, as you have struck the hatchet in our head and we can't be reconciled until you come & pull it out; We are sorry to tell you, you have killed Eleven of us since peace….

Brothers, it is our great brother, your Governor, who must come to see us, as we will never bury the hatchet until our great brother himself comes & brightens the chain of friendship, as it is very rusty – Brothers, you must bring the property of your brothers you have murdered, and all the property of the murderers, as it will be great satisfaction to the families of the deceased. Brothers, the Sooner you meet us the better, for our young Warriors are very uneasy, and it may prevent great trouble…

Seneca Chiefs
Letter to the Governor of Pennsylvania
To Protest Killings of Seneca Hunters
August 12, 1790

Posted by sullivan at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)

Wyoming Valley Tragedy

Perhaps more than any other event, the so-called "Wyoming Massacre" of July 3, 1778 was a rallying cry for launching the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign in retaliation against the Iroqouis. One survivor, Col. Zebulon Butler, the military leader of Wyoming Valley, personally led the burnings of Cayuga villages by the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign in September, 1779.

The Wyoming killings are memorialized by the eventual Yankee victors in one-sided images and super-heated poems like the ones below...

Click this to view a typical but not authenticated 19th century depiction:

Wyoming_Massacre_Web.jpg

Click this to view another such not authenticated version from a painting by F.O.C. Darley:

The same viewpoint is expressed in Gertrude of Wyoming, a 19th century epic poem (1809) by the Scottish poet Thomas Campbell (1777-1844). Beyond praising the virtues of Gertrude, it especially honors a literary figure named Outalissi, a Christianized Oneida. A quintessential "noble savage," Outalissi stands and dies with the white Civilizers (the sons of "Transatlantic Liberty") against the onslaught of "unearthly fiends" under the very real Mohawk leader, Joseph Brandt. Click below to read some amazing excerpts:

Excerpts from Thomas Campbell's Gertrude of Wyoming:

(Outalissi warns of Brandt's imminent approach:)

"But this is not a time,"--he started up,
And smote his breast with wo-denouncing hand--
"This is no time to fill the joyous cup,
The Mammoth comes,--the foe,--the Monster Brandt,--
With all his howling desolating band;
These eyes have seen their blade and burning pine
Awake at once, and silence half your land.
Red is the cup they drink; but not with wine:
Awake, and watch to-night, or see no morning shine!

(Outalissi recounts the Oneida's suffering at Brandt's hands:)

Scorning to wield the hatchet for his bribe,
'Gainst Brandt himself I went to battle forth:
Accursed Brandt! he left of all my tribe
Nor man, nor child, nor thing of living birth:
No! not the dog that watch'd my household hearth,
Escaped that night of blood, upon our plains!
All perish'd!--I alone am left on earth!
To whom nor relative nor blood remains.
No! not a kindred drop that runs in human veins!

(The battle erupts:)

Scarce had he utter'd--when Heaven's virge extreme
Reverberates the bomb's descending star,
And sounds that mingled laugh,--and shout,--and scream,--
To freeze the blood in once discordant jar
Rung to the pealing thunderbolts of war.
Whoop after whoop with rack the ear assail'd;
As if unearthly fiends had burst their bar;
While rapidly the marksman's shot prevail'd:--
And aye, as if for death, some lonely trumpet wail'd.

(The heroine, Gertrude, and other survivors behold the tragedy of Wyoming:)

Here stood secure the group, and eyed a distant scene--
A scene of death! where fires beneath the sun,
And blended arms, and white pavilions glow;
And for the business of destruction done,
Its requiem the war-horn seem'd to blow:
There, sad spectatress of her country's wo!
The lovely Gertrude, safe from present harm,
Had laid her cheek, and clasp'd her hands of snow
On Waldegrave's shoulder, half within his arm
Enclosed, that felt her heart, and hush'd its wild alarm!

(The dying Outalissi comforts his son with a vision of future victory:)

"And I could weep;"--th' Oneyda chief
His descant wildly thus begun:
"But that I may not stain with grief
The death-song of my father's son,
Or bow this head in wo!
For by my wrongs, and by my wrath!
To-morrow Areouski's breath,
(That fires yon heaven with storms of death,)
Shall light us to the foe:
And we shall share, my Christian boy!
The foeman's blood, the avenger's joy!

Posted by sullivan at 09:20 AM | Comments (0)

All content © 2004 - 2017 Bob Spiegelman  powered by MoveableType