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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Chapter 66: Nov. 10, 1778 — Cherry Valley Massacre.

[This information is from Vol. I, pp. 902-920 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. Some images have been relocated to the area in the text where they are discussed. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

Contents | Biographies | Illustrations | Maps | Portraits

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Gen. Hand warns Col. Alden of Brant's intended attack — Col. Alden scoffs at danger — Settlers beg for shelter in fort — Attack and massacre, on Nov. 11, by Tory and Indian raiders under Brant and Butler — 48 killed and 40 made prisoners — Hideous savagery of Tories and Indians — Fort Alden attacked nov. 11 and 12, when enemy withdraws — Valley relief force arrives too late — Capt. Warren's diary of the massacre.

A few days prior to the Cherry Valley massacre of November 11, General Hand, then in command of the Army of the North at Albany, visited Fort Alden and held a council with Colonel Alden and his officers. Alden was informed that Brant was on the march against Cherry Valley. Outside of sending out a scouting party, Alden seemed to ignore the menace of attack. He seemed one of that vain type of man who ridicules actual dangers, with the Godlike presumption that no men exist who would dare to harm him. Warfare and history abound in such defective intellects, the fools who make the tragedies of history. The conceited Yankee colonel, however, paid the price for his stupid vanity with his life. The inhabitants begged to be allowed to seek safety in the fort, which request Alden refused.

Brant, with a force of 700 Indians and Tories, made his descent upon Cherry Valley, under the cover of a rainy, misty November morning — November 11, 1778. The following is from "Sawyer's History of Cherry Valley" [i.e., History of Cherry Valley from 1740 to 1898]:

"Soon after daylight, a horseman from Beaverdam rode in hot haste into the village saying that he had been fired upon by Indians. Too late Colonel Alden repented of his over-confidence. His scouts and outposts had shared in his confidence of safety and, in their consequent carelessness, had been captured by the approaching forces.

"Hard upon the heels of the rider came Butler and Brant [with a savage force of] twice the number of all the men, women and children in the neighborhood. On they came that cold, drizzly, November morning, bringing mutilation and death, or a yet more to be dreaded captivity, to the peaceful, innocent inhabitants of the little valley. There was not time either for citizens or soldiers to reach the fort. Col. Alden, who was at the house of Mr. Wells and whose over-confidence was the cause of the massacre, hastened toward his command. He was hotly pursued by an Indian, who called upon him to stop. The order not being obeyed, the savage threw his tomahawk which hit the colonel in the head and this put him in the power of his dusky pursuer. He was killed and scalped.

"Meanwhile the bloody work had commenced in all parts of the little settlement. Many of the soldiers were either quartered among the citizens or were making them friendly visits. Sixteen of them fell beneath the murderous tomahawk and fourteen were taken prisoners. Men, women and children were killed indiscriminately or were taken prisoners, according to the mood of the Indians or the yet more barbarous Tories. The Indian war whoop was heard in every direction, mingled with the screams of the affrighted and the cries and shrieks of the wounded and dying.

"Here a husband and father was killed while endeavoring to protect his wife and children. There a mother was tomahawked while striving to guard her helpless offspring. Children's brains were knocked out before the eyes of agonized parents. Wives were killed while their husbands stood bound in the hands of the captors. A few reached the fort; some fled to the woods, preferring the chances of death by cold and starvation rather than certain destruction or capture at the hands of their barbarous enemies. In a few hours the work of destruction and desolation was complete. What was at sunrise a fair and flourishing settlement, with comfortable houses, well filled barns and lowing herds was at sunset a homeless waste, with only here and there a house, while amid the smouldering embers of the burned buildings were found the charred bones of the victims of the unholy massacre.

"The house of Mr. Wells was among the first attacked, the village having been entered at that point. The family were engaged in their morning devotions when the Indians entered the house. Mr. Wells was tomahawked while offering supplications at the throne of Grace. The entire family consisting of Mr. and Mrs. Wells, a brother and sister, three children and three domestics, were killed. One daughter, especially beloved for her kindness of heart and many Christian graces, having escaped from the house, was pursued by an Indian who, as he approached her, raised his tomahawk. She begged him, in Indian language to spare her life. A Tory, who had been a servant in her father's family, and who knew her amiable qualities stepped between her and the savage, and asked him to spare her life, claiming she was his sister. The Indian pushed him roughly aside and buried his hatchet in the head of the innocent and pure hearted girl. One representative of the family was left, a boy who was at school in Schenectady. He ultimately became a prominent lawyer in New York City. One of his descendants was present at the unveiling of the monument, erected to the memory of the victims at the centennial of the massacre in 1878.

"The home of Rev. Mr. Dunlop, the venerable and beloved minister of the settlement, was attacked. His life was spared through the influence of Little Aaron, an Indian chief, who had attended Dr. Wheelock's school in Lebanon. Mrs. Dunlop was killed and mutilated in his presence. He was taken prisoner, but was not retained. With a daughter he went to New Jersey, where he died the following year, never having recovered from the effects of the awful scenes through which he passed at the massacre.

"The home of Mr. Mitchell was the scene of great barbarity. He was himself not in the house when the attack was made, though in sight of it. Seeing the impossibility of aiding his family, and hoping that his wife and children would be spared, he concealed himself until the party left the house. He returned immediately upon their leaving but it was to find Mrs. Mitchell and three children dead and bathed in their own blood. A fourth child was not quite dead, a little girl ten or twelve years of age. Taking her up tenderly he was endeavoring to restore her to consciousness when he saw another party approaching the house. He again concealed himself and from his place of concealment he saw a white man, Newberry by name, cleave with his hatchet the head of his little daughter. Newberry was hung [as a spy by General Clinton] at Canajoharie the following summer, Mr. Mitchell's testimony having much to do with his conviction.

"The Dicksons lived on a knoll about two miles below the fort. Hearing the Indians approach, Mrs. Dickson and her children climbed the precipitous hill back of their house and concealed themselves in the woods. Some time after the Indians had apparently all gone by, Mrs. Dickson, cautioning her children to remain in concealment, returned to the house in search of food. She was at once seized and killed by a party of Indians who had remained behind as an ambuscade. The children lay in hiding all that day and the following night. The next morning the eldest child crept to the brink of the hill and found the Indians encamped a little below their home. One of the first sights she saw was a tall pole stuck in the ground, on which were hung a large number of human scalps and conspicuous over the rest was one of long fiery red hair which she knew at once had belonged to her mother. Later in the day a scouting party brought the motherless children into the fort.

"The first person killed in the massacre was James Gault, one of the original settlers. His house was half a mile north of the Dicksons and was, with that exception, the first house in the settlement in that direction. They had no notice of the approach of the Indians and the entire family was captured. Mr. Gault was at once slain. The other members of the family were only retained in captivity a day or two.

"Col. Samuel Campbell was from home at the time of the attack. On his return he found neither mother, wife nor children. Later he learned that Mrs. Campbell and four children had been taken prisoners. When the house was attacked it had been vigorously defended by her father, Mr. Cannon. He was finally wounded and the family captured, with the exception of one child, who was concealed by the negro nurse.

"Among those who escaped captivity was the family of Col. Clyde. The colonel was not at home. Mrs. Clyde, having learned of the attack, fled with her seven children and a negro lad, from the house before the arrival of the Indians and Tories. With the aid of the lad she succeeded in keeping the children quiet in their concealment, although the savages passed within a few feet of their hiding place. She was taken into the fort the following morning, as was also a daughter, ten years of age, who was separated from her when they fled from the house.

"A story is related of the escape of a family living in the fulling mill in Livingston's Glen, which has in it a touch of humor, the only break in the record of the sad and awful horrors of the massacre. Hearing the Indian outcries, the mother hurried her children up the bank on the side of glen. Telling them to conceal themselves in the bushes and cautioning them under no circumstances to answer any calls, no matter by whom given, she sought another hiding place and eventually reached the fort without her children. The following morning a scouting party tried to find the children, but no answer was returned to their calls and shouts and finally discouraged they sent a party after the mother. She had no better success. In vain she called them again and again. There was no response. Heart-broken in the belief that the Indians had captured them she was about to return to the fort when one of the soldiers discovered them huddled together, in fear and trembling, in a dense thicket of brush, cold and hungry, but unharmed.

"As morning drew on, the prisoners assembled together and commenced their weary march down the valley, in a pitiless November storm. They encamped about two miles from the village and, after a sleepless night, upon the dismal morning of the twelfth again started on their doleful way. Mrs. Cannon, on account of her age and otherwise enfeebled condition not being able to keep up with the party, was killed and left by the roadside. A sad day's march and another sorrowful night, and then came the joyful announcement that the women and children were to be sent back with the exception of the families of John Moore and Samuel Campbell, whose prominence was such that their families were carried into a long and severe captivity. An exchange was not made until near the close of the war. Among the captives was the late James Campbell, then a boy of five or six years, who died about 1870.

"The fort was attacked upon the 11th, but the assailants were repulsed. An attack was again made on the 12th, but wisely heeding the remonstrance of the cannon of the garrison the attacking party soon retired and soon after departed down the valley. Two hours after they had gone a company of Continental troops under command of Col. James Gordon, accompanied by a regiment of the Mohawk Militia under Col. Klock, arrived at the fort, having been notified by some of the fugitives of the attack on the settlement. They were too late to do more than help in collecting the fugitives hidden in the woods and assist in burying the dead.

"The charred and mutilated remains of those who had perished were collected and consigned to a common grave in the village cemetery. It was decided to abandon the settlement in which nothing was left except the fort, the church, and here and there a house. The cattle had been killed or driven away; the grain burned, and the vegetables destroyed by fire or frost. Most of those who survived the massacre wended their way to the Valley of the Mohawk, where they remained until the close of the war. The fort was occupied until the following summer, when the regiment was ordered to join Clinton in the Sullivan expedition.

"The number of Indians and Tories engaged in the massacre at Cherry Valley has been variously estimated at from seven to eight hundred. Campbell in his 'Annals' [i.e., William W. Campbell, Annals of Tryon County; or, The Border Warfare of New York, During the Revolution] places the number at seven hundred, composed of five hundred Indians and two hundred [Tory] rangers. Another authority states that the force was about equally divided between Indians and Tories, while still another states that there were four hundred Tories engaged in the attack. As none of the authorities place the number at more than eight, or less than seven hundred, it may safely be assumed that the force numbered somewhat over seven hundred.

"The circumstances leading to the attack, as given in the Annals, were as follows: Capt. Walter Butler was taken prisoner while on a visit to Tryon County, in the summer of 1775, and confined in the Albany gaol. Pretending sickness, he was transferred to a private house from which he effected his escape and joined his father at Niagara. Here he procured command of a part of the regiment known as 'Butler's Rangers,' together with permission to employ the Indian forces under Brant. Burning with a desire for vengeance, he at once started for Cherry Valley. On his way he met Brant, who was returning to winter quarters at Niagara. The latter reluctantly consented to accompany him, Campbell states, at displeasure of being placed under the command of Butler. Others took the more charitable view that, knowing the vindictive spirit with which Butler was animated, he [Brant] was fearful that the outrages which would be committed would sully his reputation for humanity, of which he was very tenacious. Strange as it may seem to the majority of people who are woefully ignorant of the true character of this remarkable man, it was doubtless fortunate for the inhabitants of Cherry Valley that he finally consented to join his forces with those of Butler. His whole effort during the massacre seems to have been directed to protecting the women and children so far as he had the power. It is known that he endeavored, by taking a short cut, to reach the house of Mr. Wells in advance of the Senecas, the most blood-thirsty of the Indians, and to whom most of the barbarities of the massacre are to be traced, in order that he might protect them. Unfortunately he was delayed in crossing a large plowed field and arrived too late to save the lives of this very estimable family. Another act, showing his humanity, is related in the Annals: In a house which he entered, he found a woman engaged in her usual business. 'Are you thus engaged, while all your neighbors are murdered around you?' said Brant. `We are King's people,' she replied. 'That plea will not avail you to-day. They have murdered Mr. Wells' family, who are as dear to me as my own.' 'There is one Joseph Brant; if he is with the Indians he will save us.' 'I am Joseph Brant; but I have not the command, and I know not that I can save you; but I will do what is in my power.' While speaking, several Senecas were observed approaching the house. 'Get into bed and feign yourself sick,' said Brant hastily. When the Senecas came in, he told them there were no persons there, but a sick woman and her children, and besought them to leave the house; which after a short conversation, they accordingly did. As soon as they were out of sight, Brant went to the end of the house and gave a long shrill yell; soon after, a small band of Mohawks were seen crossing the adjoining field with great speed. As they came up, he addressed them — 'Where is your paint? Here, put my mark upon this woman and her children.' As soon as it was done, he added, 'You are now probably safe.' She was not again molested.

"Brant's greatest act of mercy was in securing the return, to their homes, of the women and children captured at the time of the massacre. That he did not also secure the release of the Campbell and Moore families was, doubtless, owing to the fact that Walter Butler insisted on retaining them in order to obtain the release of his wife, who was held captive by the authorities of Tryon County, by effecting an exchange.

"The number killed in the massacre is given at forty-eight, of which sixteen were soldiers of the garrison. The captives taken have been variously estimated at from thirty to forty. The latter were all released the second day, and returned to their homes, with the exception of Mrs. Samuel Campbell and four children. Mrs. John Moore and three daughters, Mr. Cannon, several officers and men. Among the officers captured was Lieut. Col. Stacey, against whom Molly Brant had, for some unknown reason, a deadly hostility. In order to bring about his death, she resorted to the Indian method of dreaming. She informed Col. Butler that she dreamed she had the Yankee's head, and that she and the Indians were kicking it about the fort. Col. Butler ordered a small keg of rum to be painted and given to her. This, for a short time, appeased her, but she dreamed the second time that she had the Yankee's head, with his hat on. Col. Butler ordered another keg of ruin to be given to her, then told her, decidedly, that Col. Stacey should not be given up to the Indians. Col. Stacey was afterwards exchanged.

"The prisoners were taken to Kanedaseago, Mrs. Campbell carrying a child of eighteen months in her arms the entire distance. Here the families were separated, the several member being adopted into different Indian families. Mrs. Campbell was detained at Kanedaseago about a year and then removed to Niagara. Arrangements having been completed for her exchange her children were again gathered together, with the exception of one boy of six or seven years. Later, Mrs. Campbell found him awaiting her at Montreal, whither she was sent with her family. He had entirely forgotten his native tongue but spoke the Indian language fluently.

"At about the same time, Mrs. Moore and her children were exchanged and returned to Cherry Valley, with the exception of one daughter, Jane, who had, not long after her arrival in Niagara, married a Capt. Powell, an English officer of excellent reputation, with whom she remained in Canada."

Simms, in his "Frontiersmen," relates the following anecdote, giving Brant himself as the authority:

"Among those captured at Cherry Valley was a man named Vrooman with whom Brant was acquainted. Desiring to aid him in escaping, the latter, when the party was a few miles from the settlement, sent Vrooman back about two miles after a few strips of white bark, expecting that he would take advantage of the opportunity and escape to the fort. Greatly to Brant's surprise and disgust, in a couple of hours, Vrooman came panting back, bringing with him the bark.

"Col. John Butler, naturally sensitive of the stigma which attached to the memory of his son by reason of the inhumanities practiced at the time of the massacre, claimed that Brant's exhibition of humanity was prompted by a desire to cast discredit on Walter Butler's humanity. Brant always strenuously denied this, and pointed to his conduct at other places as evidence that he warred neither on women nor children.

"Although the greater part of the inhabitants of Cherry Valley sought more protected places of residence, immediately after the massacre, a few hardy settlers still clung to their homes, doubtless in the belief that there was so little in the way of plunder left to repay them that the Indians would not make another attack, or perhaps, in their poverty, dreading more the seeking of new homes among a strange people than the chance of an attack from the Indians.

"Only two incidents of especial moment occurred during the early winter [of 1778-1779] following the massacre. The first was the killing, by the Indians, of John Thompson, a son of Alexander Thompson, a resident of Cherry Valley, who had fled to the Mohawk at the time of the massacre. Young Thompson, who was a promising youth of about twenty, had started to ride up from the Mohawk with a party of young men to visit his former home. When at almost the identical spot at which Lieut. Wormuth was slain they were fired upon by a party of Indians and Thompson was instantly killed. The remainder of the party escaped.

"The other incident which occasioned considerable talk at the time, was the hanging of Wiggy Willson. Willson's sympathies were known to be with the Tories and he was suspected by the settlers of acting as a spy on the settlement. At about the time of the killing of young Thompson, and perhaps in consequence of that act, the garrison became suspicious that the Indians contemplated another attack on the settlement. It was thought that Wiggy Willson might be able to give information regarding the intentions of the Indians. Accordingly a party, composed of settlers and soldiers, visited him and demanded that he should inform them as to the intentions of his red friends. Unfortunately for himself he could not give the desired information; doubtless for the reason that he was as ignorant of the matter as his neighbors. The latter had, however, little faith in Wiggy's sincerity, and believing that a little 'moral suasion' was needed, produced a rope and in a moment he was swinging from a convenient apple-tree. Leaving him thus suspended a sufficient length of time to convince him of their earnestness, and to give him a fair idea of the unpleasantness of that means of ending life, he was let down to the ground. The shock had, however, added neither to his knowledge nor imagination and he was again suspended in the air. This time he was allowed to hang so long that it was only after much labor that his blood was started in circulation. Frightened at their narrow escape from committing murder the settlers took a hasty departure, leaving the rope with Wiggy alike as a warning and a momento. The episode created a good deal of unfavorable comment at the time but it completely cured Wiggy of his Tory proclivities.

"Brant, when some time after he heard of a reflection made on his cruelty, by a resident of Cherry Valley, retorted that 'he had never himself made war on women or children, nor hanged a neighbor on suspicion.'

"John Foster was another resident whose Toryism was more pronounced than that of Wiggy Willson. Brant himself visited him in the summer [of 1778] preceding the massacre and there is little doubt but that he was in constant communication with the Indian and Tory leaders. It seems somewhat singular but apparently after the war all ill feeling between the patriots and the Tories appears to have been dropped, so far at least as this settlement was concerned. Foster continued to live here many years after the close of war and was always well treated. In fact 'Old Jacky Foster' became quite popular during his later years. Foster and Willson were both illiterate men."

* * * * *

[Photo: Monument to Col. Clyde on the left and Col. Alden's grave on the right, Cherry Valley Cemetery.]

[Photo: Site of Fort Alden, Cherry Valley.]

The site of Fort Alden lies on the west side of the Cherry Valley Cemetery and on and across the highway on its front. The fort's location is marked by cannon. In the cemetery is a handsome monument erected to the memory of the victims of the Cherry Valley massacre and the Revolutionary heroes of the town, on the centennial of the massacre in 1878.

The eastern face of this stone reads:

Vicus
1740
Conditus
Sacred to the Memory of those who died by Massacre in the destruction of this village at the hands of the Indians and Tories under Brant & Butler
Nov. 11, A. D. 1778
Vastatus
1778
Per Caedam

The four sides of the monument, at the top, bear the words:

"Cherry Valley, Oriskany, Frontenac, Durlagh."

The western face of the monument reads:

"Col. Ichabod Alden, XIV private soldiers, Robert Wells, his wife, Mary Dunlop, their four children, John Wells, Jane Wells and three servants, Wm. Gallt, Mrs. Elizabeth Dickson, Mrs. Eleanor Cannon, Mr. and Mrs. Gill, Mrs. Jane Scott, & others, above Forty in all, whose bodies lie near this spot — mostly in a common grave beneath this stone,

also

Lieut. Robt. Campbell, killed at Oriskany, Lieut. Wormwood, shot by Brant at Tekaharawa, Maj. Robt. McKean & his men who fell at Durlagh."

* * * * *

The many references to Brant's "humanity" sound ridiculous to the historian who follows his bloody career through the Mohawk Valley during the Revolution. Joseph Brant led raiding expeditions through the Mohawk Valley which had for their objects the killing of the patriot men, women and children and the burning of their homes, barns and crops and the destruction or capture of their livestock. The object was to eliminate human life and property in the valley, as far as the Whigs were concerned. Brant led bands of Indian savages on these expeditions. These barbarians went to war, not for the sake of King George and his cause, but for the pleasure of murdering, burning and plundering, which was the Indian warrior's highest ideal of pleasure aside from his delighted gambols around his burning and tortured victims. Our own Nordic ancestors had much the same ideas of war and amusement some five thousand years ago. However, it is ridiculous to conceive of Brant leading great bands of bloodthirsty devils against the Mohawk Valley and at the same time try to consider him as posing as a humanitarian among the bloody, screaming orgies which he planned and executed. Where Brant saved one twenty were killed. Brant had a keen sense of the theatrical. However, with all his savagry and drunkenness, Joseph was not as much of a savage as his sister Molly, who begged Colonel Butler for the head of Colonel Stacey, second in command at Cherry Valley, that she and the other Indians at Niagara might kick it about the yard — Molly having a grudge against the patriot colonel.

Because our own remote ancestors were equally savage does not excuse a silly and sentimental attitude toward the beastly white Tories and the naturally savage and bloodthirsty Indians who ravaged our valley from end to end and left trail after trail of bloody corpses and of blackened ruins to mark their career of horror during the Revolution.

* * * * *

Col. Klock at the head of the Mohawk Valley militia and the commander of the Continental troops who came up from Fort Plain to the relief of Fort Alden and Cherry Valley, are accused by Captain Warren of slowness and timidity in not marching boldly to attack Brant's raiders. Warren's diary follows, in which he accuses the relief force of lying in the woods until they were sure the enemy had gone. The facts of the case are difficult to ascertain at this late day. The Tryon County militia and its leaders showed no timidity on other occasions and it is hard to believe that they were guilty of anything of the sort. It is undeniable that they were slow in coming to the relief of Fort Alden, but we are unfamiliar with all the circumstances.

The following is a diary of Captain Benjamin Warren of the 6th Massachusetts Regiment, commanded by Col. Icabod Alden, which was stationed at Cherry Valley at the time of the terrible massacre of November 11th, 1778. The portion of the journal from the time of the regiment's arrival in August, 1778, until a short time after the massacre is here printed in full because it gives new light on the massacre, as well as some interesting description of scouting parties from Cherry Valley and details of the raid of 1778 at German Flats. Captain Warren also makes the assertion that the Mohawk Valley militia, under Colonel Klock, marched up from Fort Plain and its surrounding posts and remained in camp within four miles of Cherry Valley until assured that the enemy had fled. Warren's journal has had no prior publication in any Mohawk Valley history so far as the writer knows. It certainly is one of our most valuable Revolutionary documents.

David E. Alexander in his notes on this diary (Journal of American History, Vol. 3, pp. 377-384) says:

"This is the remarkable narrative of a soldier's experience at the massacre of Cherry Valley in the American Revolution in 1778. It was recently revealed while searching through the manuscripts of the priceless Jared Sparks collection in the library at Harvard University. * * *

"This is undoubtedly one of the most valuable contributions to American history, bringing as it does new evidence to bear upon one of the most terrible massacres in American warfare. Moreover the witness is one of the great Americans of the Revolution — Capt. Benjamin Warren, who it is said refused a generalship to fight in the ranks. His experiences on the battlefield of Saratoga, one of the fifteen decisive battles of the world, were recorded from his own manuscripts in the preceding issue of the Journal of American History (Vol. 3, pp. 202-216), with a brief biography of Capt. Warren. His experiences at the massacre of Cherry Valley add a new chapter to his career."

The following regarding Captain Warren is taken from the aforementioned source:

"Benjamin Warren was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on March 13, 1739, and was the son of Captain Benjamin Warren, the first of that family in America, who left Plymouth, England, and sailed on the Mayflower. He (Captain Warren) was a sergeant in Captain Abraham Hammatt's company. Warren was subsequently advanced to ensign and later lieutenant in the 25th Continental Infantry. In January, 1777, he became captain of the 7th Massachusetts Infantry, which, with other Massachusetts troops, served in the Saratoga campaign, during which Captain Warren wrote his famous diary of the decisive American victories of that period. He was later transferred to Colonel Ichabod Alden's Sixth Massachusetts Regiment, which was stationed at Cherry Valley at the time of the massacre, November 10th, 1778. Warren became a brigade major in 1781 and retired from the Service January 1, 1783. He died June 10, 1825, aged 85 years.

Captain Warren, under date of September 3rd, 1777, mentions "that at Fort Stanwix the enemy had raised the siege and fled," but he makes no reference to the battle of Oriskany.

Extracts from Captain Warren's diary follow, relative to his arrival and stay at Fort Alden, Cherry Valley, and the massacre there on November 11th, 1778.

"July — Friday, 24th, 1778. This morning drew provisions, cooked and took wagons on the south side [Mohawk] river; loaded our baggage and marched for Cherry Valley, soon after we began our march, came on heavy rain; about four o'clock arrived at the garrison, which was a meeting house picketed in, with a large number of distressed inhabitants crowded in; men, women and children; drew some rum for the men and placed them in their several quarters; the inhabitants received us with the greatest tokens of joy and respect and it was like a general gaol delivery; they began to take the fresh air and moved into the nearest houses, from their six weeks confinement in that place.

"Saturday, 25th. This morning shifted my linen and went out, having a very good night's rest after our fatigue, having marched now one hundred and eighty miles with stopping but two days during the whole march; paraded our men; called the roll; took breakfast and went down to the garrison [fort], consulted with the officers the best method of fortifying and covering our men. They being distributed in barns.

"Sunday, 26th. This morning, after roll call, went down to the garrison and from thence to the Col. quarters; about eleven o'clock returned to the garrison, where we had a sermon preached by the Rev. Mr. Johnson from these words: 'Be of good courage and play the man for our people and to these cities of our God, and the Lord will do what seemeth Him good.'

"Monday, 27th. I was officer of the day to inspect the guards and relieve Capt. Colburn.

"Tuesday, 28th. This morning it rained; did not go on the parade; about 12 o'clock Ensign Charles went with a party to guard the waggons down the [Mohawk] river after provisions. Nothing material or worthy of notice until August 10th; in the interim Col. Alden arrived.

"August 10th. On this day received intelligence of Brant and his party's design of attacking this garrison, by an express from Gen. Stark, in consequence of which Capt. Ballard with a party of 60 men was sent out to make discovery, who went to the butternuts [Butternut Creek]. Took 14 tories of Brants party, collecting cattle, and about 100 head of cattle and horses. 40 sheep; all the troops on the ground were employed fortifying.

"August 16th. A small scout of six men went out near Tunalaefs [John Tunaeliffe, later Tunicliffe, at present Richfield Springs] fell in with a small party of Indians; killed one, but the rest escaped.

"[August] 19th. On receiving intelligence, by one of our scouts, that Brant and his party was to be at Tunaeliss, a party of 150 men commanded by Col. Stacy, marched by the way of Lake Osago [Otsego] came to houses about 17 miles and lodged there.

"[August] 21st. This morning about daybreak, paraded; marched through low and swampy ground; about ten o'clock crossed two creeks and twelve o'clock arrived on a mountain, looked down on Tunaeliss house; made no discovery of the enemy; sent a party each way to the right and left to surround the house; we then rushed down, found none of them, though a sumptious dinner prepared for the enemy, who, on our arrival at the house, fired a gun in the woods near us and some was seen to run off; the woman would give us no information but a lad, being threatened, informed that some Indians had been there that morning; we made good use of the victuals and proceeded to the foot of Schuyler's Lake; forded the creek and marched down to Schuyler's house, about nine miles; made no discovery of the enemy; lodged there.

"August 22nd. About six o'clock this morning, paraded and marched down by Young's Lake, through Springfield that was burnt [in May, 1778] to Cherry Valley about 66 miles lower; received intelligence that the French fleet was gone to Rhode Island to cover the landing of their troops and to lay siege to that place. On the British General receiving intelligence thereof the English fleet pursued them; on which an engagement ensued, in which the English fleet came off with loss and returned to York.

"[August] 28th. This day was informed by a letter from Albany that the French fleet had returned to Rhode Island and had brought in 25 sail of vessels prizes, viz; one sixty-four, two frigates, a number of tenders and transports to make up that number. By an English paper in the House of Lords in June it appeared that, in 1777, the King of Britain had in the sea and land service in America 60 odd thousand and that, by the returns, it appeared that his army, by being killed, wounded and taken, had diminished in America 28 thousand.

"September, 1778. We sent a scout down to Tunadilla [Unadilla] who took three prisoners out of their beds and came off discovered; who gave information, on examination, Brant was to muster and arm his men the next day, and march for this place or the flats [German Flats]; that his party was about four or five hundred strong. The Col. on getting this intelligence, sent dispatches to the General at Albany, to German Flats and to Scoharry, which intelligence proved true; for about a week after the enemy came and attacked the flats in the night of the 17th, burnt most of the houses and barns with grain, and drove off most of their cattle; killed or wounded but few of the inhabitants, they fled to the fort, and notwithstanding the timely notice, through the negligence of Capt. Clark, they had few men in the fort [Fort Herkimer] and his still greater negligence in not giving us timely notice, when they did come the enemy escaped with most of their plunder. Immediately on our receiving intelligence, which was 24 hours after it was done, though but 12 [22] miles distant, Major Whiting went out with 180 men; who pursued them as far as the butternuts, but could not overtake them; he took three of their party, tories, and brought them in, with some stock they left in their hurry; meanwhile the enemy were at German flats, a party of our Oneida Indians went down from fort Stanwix; fell on Tunadilla, burnt and took the spoil and brought off a number of prisoners; some continentals they retook that were prisoners there. Brants party, fearing the country would be upon their backs, made what haste they could; a division of them arrived first at Tunadilla and found the place had been beset with our people and put off immediately; the other coming in, found part of their party gone off; left all and followed them to Niagara. Col. Butler of Scoharry sent down a scout and found they had fled; he marched with his regiment and riflemen and Indians to the number of 500 men immediately for Susquehanna.

"Oct. 1st. Col. Alden received orders to arrange his regiment agreeable to the new establishment, which takes place from 1st inst. Oct. in the following order:

"1st. Capt. Ballard, Lieut. Lunt, Ensign Parker.

"2nd. Infantry Coburn, Lieut. Bufington, Lieut. Givens.

"3rd. Capt Day, Adjutant and Lieut. White, Lieut. Day.

"4th. Capt. Warren, Lieut. Maynard, Ensign Bragnall.

"5th. Capt. Reed, Lieut. Holden, Ensign and Paymaster Tucker.

"6th. Capt. Lane, Lieut. Peabody, Ensn. and Q. Master Kindry.

"7th. Capt. Lieut. Parker, Lieut. Trowbridge.

"8th. L: C., Lieut. Curtis, Lieut. Carter.

"9th. M: Lieut. Thorpe, Ensign Garrett.

"Lieut. Billings requested a discharge and Ensign Charles was dropt. Mr. Hicker was chosen paymaster and had an appointment in the lines, but declined; on which Ensign Tucker was chosen.

"By intelligence from Albany we learn that the Brest fleet had arrived on our coast. By a young man belonging to the [Mohawk] river, who was retaken at Tunadilla, we learn that Lieut. Maynard was very ill treated by the Indians. Ensigne arrived from Albany who brings us information that our regiment was talked of to take Gansworts [Gansevoort's] place at Fort Stanwix, but we thought that Vansoit's [Van Schaick's] would and we should march down in about three weeks. Mr. Smith, the Commissary of Massachusetts stores arrived, which was a welcome visitor. At the sale of the tory effects, I bought a horse for 85 dollars. Gave Lieut. Billings an order on Tobez Elwell to take any mare and dispose of her for me, if said Elwell had not sold her; if he had, Billings was to receive the pay for me and keep it till called for, or pay it to my wife at Plymouth.

"October 10th. It began raining and lasted until the twelfth and snowed so that considerable was left on the ground.

"October 12th. Cleared up and froze hard. 13th. It continued cold and blustering; yesterday Serjeant Bartlett joined the company from West Point; informed that the regiment was likely to be removed from here soon; Mr. Hickens left the regiment to go down after money for the regiment, by which means the Artillery company was put under my charge.

"About the first of November Gen. Hand who was ordered to the command of the Northern Department came to direct us to determine on the expediency of quartering troops here this winter. He called for a return of what ordnance stores, ammunition, atc. I had in the garrison; meanwhile an express arrived from Fort Stanwix, informing that one of the Oneidas was at a council of war of the enemies, in which it was determined to visit Cherry Valley. The General had the regiment turned out and reviewed them; he payed us a high compliment in orders and in consquence of the express, he went down and ordered Col. Klock to send immediately 200 men to reinforce us, which the Gen. wrote was to have been here the 9th of November and ordered up a large quantity of provisions and ammunition stores, which however did not come to hand nor any reinforcement of men and on Wednesday, the 11th about 12 o'clock the enemy to the number of 650 rushed upon us, surrounded headquarters and the fort immediately and pushed vigorously for the fort, but our soldiers behaved with the greatest spirit and alertness; defended the fort and repulsed them after three hours and a half smart engagement. Col. Alden in endeavoring to reach the fort was killed; Col. Stacy made prisoner together with Lieut. Holden, Ensigne Garret, the surgeons mate, and a serjeant, about 12 or 14 of the regiment; twelve of the regiment, beside the Col. killed and two wounded.

"November 12th. No reinforcements until about 9 or 10 o'clock. The Indians came on again and gave a shout for rushing on, but our cannon played brisk; they soon gave way; they then went round the settlement burnt all the buildings mostly the first day and collected all the stock and drove the most of it off; killed and captivated all the inhabitants, a few that hid in the woods excepted, who have since got into the fort.

"November 13th. In the afternoon and morning of the 13th we sent out parties after the enemies withdrew; brought in the dead; such a shocking sight my eyes never beheld before of savage and brutal barbarity; to see the husband mourning over his dead wife with four dead children lying by her side, mangled, scalpt, and some with their heads, some their legs and arms cut off, some torn the flesh off their bones by their dogs — 12 of one family killed and four of them burnt in his house.

"Sunday 15th. This day some provision arrived being the first supply after the first attack when we had not a pound for man in garrison, for four or five days but a trifle of meat. In the afternoon a scout we thought had been taken by them, a serjeant and eight men, arrived in safe. By some they took prisoners they let go again; informed they had a number wounded we saw a number of them fall, so that we have reason to think we killed more of them than they killed of our regiment, though they butchered about 40 women and children that has been found. It came on to storm before the engagement began; first with rain, but for this day past it has been a thick snow storm.

"Monday 16th. The snow continued falling and is almost knee deep on a level. The Col. was buried the 13th with — under arms with all the honors of war — Though there was 300 men between this and the (Mohawk) river, most of them together before we were attacked, yet they came within four miles and laid there until they were assured the enemy was gone off. Col. Butler, though near 40 miles off, marched and got near and would have been the first to our assistance, had we not sent him word they were gone off; we are here in a shocking situation, scarcely an officer that has anything left, but what they have on their backs.

"Tuesday 17th. The weather continued stormy; scouts were sent off, but no discovery made of the enemy near.

"Wednesday 18th. Nothing material; still stormy.

"Thursday 19th. A party of our men out discovered tracks on the mountains not far off.

"Saturday 21st. This day a scout from Col. Butler's came in from the river; informed that eight houses were burnt south west from fort Plank & 3 men made prisoners by the enemy; still stormy. Major Whiting got him a new house built and moved this day. Having cartridge paper come employed the Artillery men making cannon cartridges; received intelligence of Capt. Coburn's arrival at Albany with clothing for the regiment. I wrote to Major Desine to bring them forward immediately unless the Gen. should order us from this place, in consequence of our request for that favor.

"Sunday 22nd. This day by request of the Major, I took charge of a party to fix the guard house with chimney &c; wrote to the Gen. by request of the Major for a relief of the regiment and to have us join our brigade.

"Monday 23rd. From this to the end of the month, fatigue parties making —— —— —— round the fort.

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