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The Upper Wabash, Miamitown to Ouiatenon, October 28, to November 28, 1778

Easter North America, circa 1779 Map

28th. [October 28, 1778] Wrote to General Haldimand-- ( 182) C. Lernoult-- Mr: Macomb-- Sent off Captain La Mothe to the portage with orders to assist with his men in passing the boats--

Had a conference with the Pouteouattamies of St. Joseph-- ( 183) Met the chiefs of the several nations assembled on the plain, at a feast given by the Ottawas to the Miamis and other Indians-- prefaced a spirit of union-- then addressed Nanaquìbé an old chief of the Pouteouattamies of St. Joseph, commended his zeal in coming so far at his advanced age to give an example to the young men-- having touched upon the impropriety of his wearing a Medal of the French King while the King of G. Britain supplied them with ammunition and all necessaries-- having an English Medal ready, I made the exchange-- The War Song was then sung first by myself, then by the Chiefs & principal warriors of the different nations-- The Sun was just setting when I took my leave, and proceeded to pied froid, where the boats were ready for transporting, on the other side of the river St. Joseph--

29th. The Gun boat was got on the Carriage with great difficulty-- Lorimier from the Shawanoe Towns-- (184) directed him to proceed to Detroit and take his orders from Captain Lernoult-- Left Major Hay and Captain Maisonville to forward the boats over the portage, and walked to the further end of the carrying place 3 leagues, where Captain Mc.Leod had a guard on the Provisions &ca Orderd Off Lieutenants DuVernet and Schieffelin with the six lbr. and fixed ammunition to go down the Creek in Pirogues--

This creek is one of the sources of the Ouabache and takes its rise in a level plain which is the heighth of land near the Miamis Town-- the creek is called petite riviere (185) Where the pirogues were first launched it is only wide enough for one boat and is much embarassd with logs and Stumps-- about 4 miles below is a Beaver dam, and to those animals the traders are indebted for the conveniency of bringing their peltry by water from the Indian posts on the waters of the Ouabache-- The Indians are sensible of the advantages they draw from the labors of the Beaver at this place, and will not suffer them to be killed in this neighbourhood-- On my return met Lt. DuVernet with 7 pirogues loaded, orderd him to proceed and join Lt. St. Cosme who was below the Dam with some men employed to clear the chemin couvert, (186) a narrow part of the Creek, so narrow and embarrassd with logs under water, and boughs over head that it required a great deal of work to make it passable for our small craft-- In Summer the trees overarch the Creek, and as the snakes get into the branches it is very disagreable to pass, as they frequently fall into the canoes--

30th. sent Lt. De Quindre with 7 pirogues loaded with provision, & 14 men to follow Lt. DuVernet-- In the evening went to the Dam which had been cut thro' to give a passage for the pirogues, and by sinking a batteau in the gap and stopping the water with sods and paddles raised the water-- lay in the wood this night-- Wolves very numerous hereabout--

31st. [October 31, 1778] returnd to the Camp at the portage-- the water had risen 7 inches since last evening--

November 1st. [1778] left the landing with 7 batteaus and 3 pirogues loaded with provision &ca and proceeded to the dam which we opend, and yet found the water so scanty, that it was with the greatest difficulty we passed the chemin couvert, the windings are so short that our boats 32 feet long, reached sometimes from point to point, we were yet worse off when we got to the end of this narrow pass, coming to a swamp called les Volets, from the water lilly which almost covers the surface of this fen--The batteaus frequently rested on the mud and we labor'd hard to get thro' being up to the knees in mud and entangled among the roots and rotten stumps of trees we at length got to the channel form'd by the meeting of the petit riviere, and the riviere à boete-- here we encamp'd having got but 10 miles with great fatigue-- (187)

2d. Early in the morning sent off the Savages by land, and a small party down the river to clear away the logs &ca-- The rest of the men were employed in damming the water of the two little rivers to provide for our passage downwards-- Lt. DuVernet who had got some miles lower had wrote me word, that he could not proceed for the shallowness of the water-- we had had scarcely any rain since leaving the Rocher de bout, and the frost having now set in we had reason to apprehend such a drought as would stop our progress-- The advantage attending so much fair weather was the carrying place being in tolerable condition, our provision and ammunition being dry, and our men remarkably healthy--

3d. Continued to work at the Dam-- sent a light canoe to the landing for workmen and Tools, which returnd at 1/2 past 12 at night-- As I thought we might have occasion to return the same way, and the water might fail, I had resolvd to make a sluice at this dam--

4th. The Water was raised 3 feet-- At eight o'Clock at night Major Hay arrived with the remainder of the boats with provision &ca. Captain McKee joined us at the same time with two Shawanese Chiefs, the white fish (188) ( ) and Wa wepi yass in wa with a young warrior of the same nation Ja ni thaa--

5th. [November 5, 1778] Mr. Nicholas Lowain being left at the Miamis Town as commissary I wrote to him to permit the traders to come to Ouiattanon with merchandize, as soon as he should hear of my arrival there-- Monsieur de Celoron excepted--

6th. Major Hay proceeded down the river the water being let off, and made another dam a mile below riviere a l'Anglais-- (189)

7th. We broke up this dam with the first dawn of day, and proceeded to the pays plat, where the bed of the river being very broad, with almost continued ledges of rock and large stones, we found it very laborious and tedious to pass with our craft-- The men were in the water from ten o'Clock in the morning till after Sunset, at which time only one batteau had got to the foot of the Rifts-- in this day's progress the most of our boats were greatly damaged-- The men were obliged to encamp as they could, opposite to their boats,-- all shewed the greatest cheerfullness and alacrity, the officers having shared in the fatigue of the day-- some of the weightyest boats required 22 men to lift and draw them at the same time-- The lowest of the batteaus lay this night at the petit rocher (190) a skreen of rock on the W. side of the river--

8th. Continued to work in the water to forward the boats-- sent to Lt. DuVernet for 7 light pirogues and 22 men to assist in lightning the boats-- Lt. DuVernet is encamped at the fork of Ouabache (191) Pacane a Miami chief joined with 11 Warriors-- Thunder and rain from 2 o'Clock in the Morning till near night-- Wabaugay (The morning star) a young Chippowey chief, having set off to reconnoitre towards Ouiattanon I sent Mr: Chéne the interpreter to recall him, at night a messenger from Lt. DuVernet informed me the Indians had returnd-- A quantity of our Flour damaged by the leaking of the boats and the violent rain--

9th. set off from petit rocher-- The men 5 hours in the water haling the boats over the shoals and rocks for a league and half-- arrived at the forks of Ouabache at 3 o'clock p.m. and in half an hour joined Lt. DuVernet at his encampment. set about calking and repairing the batteaus, which were much crazed by the days journey--

10th. [November 10, 1778] continued the repair of the boats, and airing the bales which had got wet--The provision having been landed at petit rocher to lighten the batteaus, sent up 50 men with eight pirogues to fetch it down. The River begins to rise from the great fall of rain-- had a conference last night with the chiefs, and shewed them the bad consequence of sending off a decouverte (192) at so great a distance from an enemy-- They allowed it and this day set their young men the example of working along with the Soldiers, bringing down the provision from petit rocher, some of them carrying 200 lb of flour on their shoulders--

11th. It began to snow-- sent off 3 pirogues to petit rocher to bring away the remainder of the provisions-- Orderd Charles Baubin (Interpreter for the Miamis) to acquaint them that their encamping 5 leagues distant, was neither agreeable to me or the other nations, and to desire their chiefs not to suffer any of their young men to go ahead without orders--

12th. Exercised the Cannon and small arms at Marks-- The arms in very good order-- The Savages expressed great surprize to see a mark of a foot square struck from the 61br. at about 300 yards distance-- A conference with the chiefs this night on the subject of our march-- Our craft 40 in number repaired-- Orderd a pickett to mount in future of 1 Sub. 1 Serje. 18 R. & F. Last night C. McKee arrived from the Miamis with an account of the Shawanese having attacked and defeated a party of Rebels who had carried off some of their horses, and recover'd their cattle.

13th. was spent in repairing batteaus, sending down provision by land to Salamani River,(193) to lighten the boats, & embarking provisions and stores in those which were repaired--

14th. Could not get off before 11 am. It had snowed hard last night This morning it blows hard with smart frost.-- The water so low and the bed of the river so rocky we had great difficulty to get the boats forward-- 14000 weight had been forwarded by land, yet in this severe weather when the water froze on their poles at every dip, the men were obliged to get into the water to assist in pushing the boats along, sometimes 20 to a boat-- my own boat, one pirogue and the Carpenters canoe were the only voitures that got down to I'Erable penchée (the sloping maple) at dark, half frozen--

15th. [November 15, 1778] An hour before day unloaded my batteau and sent the men off with her, to assist in bringing down the rest and to point out the channel-- The Carpenters were busy in clearing the ground for encamping, and the guard that came by land with the provision, making fires against their arrival-- Last night the Miamis Indians encamped 500 yards below us, and having arranged themselves according to ancient custom, one of their Chiefs called by the French (le petie gris, dappled fawn) in the Miamis tongue Waspikingua or Necaquangai harrangued them as follows--

Young men! We are now going to war, should any dispute arise among you, or hasty words pass, recollect that your busyness is War and let it pass unnoticed-- War is sometimes necessary and the consequence to many must be death-- let us bear in mind that some of us must fall, and the rest return in mourning, but that thought must not deterr us from doing our duty-- We must die, when it is the will of the supreme being the master of life-- We are here mixed with the English, the French and several different tribes of the brown skins, let us not take offence at any thing which may be said, since we are unacquainted as well with their language as their customs-- however let no man even in joke use a threatening gesture with his knife, or his War axe-- These people (the Christians) have not the same religion with us, We believe in the Deities of the woods and rivers, as well as in the supreme lord, they believe only in one sovereign being presiding over all-- Our method of making war is by surprize, Our father the Englishman has another method, however let us act our part as men, we must expect shot to fall as thick as drops of rain, but we are no more than men, born to die-- I exhort you all to diligence and activity, let every one bear his share in all fatigues-- God above looks down upon us, and will punish the lazy, he that is slow in making his fire shall suffer cold, he that is tardy in hunting must expect to suffer hunger-- The various nations have different customs, I will not implore all their Deities, but pray for the protection of those of our own Nation and ask of them victory for my followers, and that we may be allowed to revisit our Villages, our Wives and our Children--

16th. At half past 11 a.m. left l'Erable penchée having taken in all our provision, and repaird our boats as well as possible--

This morning the Indians having represented that it was contrary to their customs to have the Nattes (Budgetts which contain their Household Gods, relics, and such things as they use in their divinations Medicines &ca) in their rear when going to War, I found their superstition too strong to be combatted, and accordingly orderd the Interpreters to tell them, they should on all occasions fix their camp in their own manner, that is, advanced toward the Enemy's country--

It is well known that these people seldom if ever, post sentinels or keep watch at night, tho ever so essential to their security--

Their camp is formed in this manner-- Large fires are kindled before which they lie in rows, on each side, with their feet towards the fire-- At their heads are placed their arms leaning against a rock-- In this position they go to sleep, and if any noise is made or alarm given, the first who hears it touches his neighbour, and the whole are presently roused, tho in silence, and take to their arms without bustle or confusion-- Should any one have a dream which bodes something favorable, or the contrary he relates it in the morning to his comrades, and their reliance on omens is such, as frequently to defeat an enterprize--Sometimes a man who is disposed to return from war, makes known a dream which calls for him to quit his comrades, no one pretends to dissuade him, he takes his pack, and sets off perhaps accompanied by some of his comrades, the Chief not pretending to interpose-- The following well known story shows their attention to, and religious observance of Dreams--

A Mohawk Chief having observed at Sir William Johnson's a very handsome fowling piece over the Chimney, took occasion to tell S. W. that he had dreamed that he had made it a present to him, Sir W. well acquainted with their customs, told the chief that since he had had such a Dream, the fowling piece was at his Service-- some time after Sir William told the Chief he had dreamed that the Indian had made him a present of a certain tract of land, The Indian at the same time that he promised Sir William that he should be put in possession told him that he himself should take care how he dreamed again--

The Indians from their infancy learn to imitate the cries and call of Beasts and birds, and acquire such perfection as to deceive not only one another, but the animals which they by this means frequently make their prey, of this I have known instances-- This power of imitation is often used with success in War, which they chiefly carry on by surprizes-- On some occasions (as I have been told) a Chief directs his Warriors to use such or such calls, and these are repeated at intervals so that in extending their front to surprize an enemy, none may stray too wide-- They frequently crawl a considerable distance, laying down branches and twigs which are in their way, with the greatest care and patience-- sometimes they smear their bodies with clay or earth or different colours, approaching to that of the trees, leaves or grass that they are to pass thro' that they may lie undiscovered-- Hunger and thirst they support with admirable constancy, and continue in constrained postures and the most irksome situations, by which means they frequently effect their purpose-- I have no doubt of their being able to fast three days and even longer, tho their precautions are such, and their knowledge of roots and other vegetable eatables such, that they are rarely put to great straights for hunger-- even in Swamps they find eatable and even wholesome food, they cannot however prevail on themselves to eat snakes or frogs, tho both be very nourishing and platable-- The Indians support the fatigues of rapid marches and will go a round trot of between four and five miles an hour for a long summers day without halting for refreshmt which gives them a vast advantage over the whites, even the best Woodmen.

A Provision which they seldom are in want of is made of the fat flank of Deer, dryed and lightly smoaked, this pounded small with a certain proportion of Indian corn-meal and maple sugar-- They commonly mix some of this with water, a small quantity is sufficient thus hunger and thirst are satisfied together with very little delay--

In the neighbourhood of the Sea, the Clam fish is dried in the shade and strung on a packthread which they wear over the shoulder as a belt, and this being very nutritious food, I am told three will support one of them for a day-- Passed the pain de sucre, or sugar loaf,(194) a rock on the river side about 100 feet high, the only high land in view-- Tis on the Eastern shore-- We encamped about a league below on the opposite shore--

17th. Rain all day, however we made seven leagues, and encamped on the S.E. side of the River--

18th. Had hard work to pass several rapids-- The men were obliged to work in the water tho it was extremely cold-- passed the Mississinoui a pretty large river on the N. E. side-- (195) encamped at (les arbres matachés) the painted trees-- so called from a number of Trees marked with Indian figures in Vermillion-- This place is about a league below the little riviere au Calumet.(196) Having halted about noon to make a fire, a messenger from the Miamis of Riviere à l'anguille (197) informed us, that the people of his Village, waited impatiently for us, & were rejoyced to hear of our coming. We heard also, that the Ouiattanon indians were assembled on the hither side of Ouiat,(198) in expectation of our arrival--

19th. Being a fair day, we employed in repairing some of our batteaus-- Met the Savages of Eel river (riviere à l anguille) and the Pouteouattamies of the river Thipicono (199) (This is the name of a fish something resembling the white Bass, but larger)-- These last made a present to the Ottawas of several shrouds and blanketts to cover the bones of an Ottawa, sometime ago killed by them--

The speaker to whom a year before I had given a pipe Tomahawk coverd with silver wire, said that he was a man who loved his wife and children, and who did not intermeddle for good or bad, that he was well pleased to see us on our march against the rebels, but that he had no decisive part to take--

I rose with intention to speak harshly to him, and remind him of the promises he had made when at Detroit, but I contented myself with returning thanks to those Nations who had left their wives and children to follow me to war-- That I did not come thro their country with a design of inveigling men to war, that the rivers and paths were the Kings highways, thro which I meant to pass to find out the Rebels-- shewed them the roadbelt, and told them that I had compassion on their women and children, which was the reason I had come from so great a distance to drive invaders off their lands, that on my arrival at Ouiattanon, I should cancel the Piankashaa contract (200) That those men who joined me, should receive arms ammunition &ca--

The Speaker said he was disposed to sit quiet and wait to see his old Father (meaning that he expected to see the French again in possession of the country)--

I broke off the meeting abruptly, and told them I was going to exercise my young men, and gave orders for the men to turn out and fire ball at a mark, which they did, and shewed great dexterity firing very quick and making excellent shots-- The six pounder was exercised also--

In the Evening Mr: Chésne the interpreter told me, that several of the Miamis and Pouteouattamies of this district meant to accompany us, And that the speaker himself said, he had only spoken for himself That men were made to go to war, and that the young men would not be prevented by what he had said in the Morning--

Kinebec a maingong is the name of the Village of the Miamis at this place which means Snake River, the Indians calling an Eeal Kinébec as they do a snake likewise-- (201)

20th. [November 20, 1778] It snowed almost all day and blew hard-- Had a conference with the Pouteouattamies of this settlement, who having been reproved by the Ottawa chiefs for inconsistency, appeared something better disposed-- they had said the day before that they were disposed to act as the other nations, but the Ottawas remarkd they did not act agreably to their professions--

In the afternoon I went to the Village of the Miamis and had a long discourse with them on the subject of our design--They said their small numbers did not admit of sending off many Warriors but they would shew their good disposition, and immediately the chiefs named for War, ten of those present-- The Old Wolf was appointed their chief, He was one who had insulted the Rebels at St. Vincennes-- An old man of 70 called the lead mine walked to the camp which was 4 Miles and 1/2 distant within 20 minutes as soon as we had gone it tho' we ran two thirds of the way--

21st. We had a sharp Frost with high wind, and the difficulty great in getting our boats along--

A point of land advances into the River which terminates by a Bluff of rock-- This had formerly been called by Travellers Le Navire the Ship, but the last year a considerable part of it having fallen into the river (as I suppose by an earthquake, tho the lndians say 'twas by a stroke of lightning) It has lost its likeness-- Chrystals, petrifications of different soils, the coruna ammonis particularly, are found in abundance, the rocks having

been lately rent in their fall discover many of them-- I had not time to gratify my curiosity fully at this place, but in walking thro' the wood about 300 yards from the shore, and almost abreast of the Ship-- We discoverd a Rock in the form nearly of a Vessels hull which tho rudely formd attracted our notice-- on examining, we found it to contain petrified shells &cat and to be much of the nature of the Rock formerly called the Ship-- (202)

The Savages and the foremost boats got down below the great rapid (203) a league from the mouth of Eel river (riviere à l'anguille), the rest stoppd at different distances according to the difficulties them [sic] had to encounter-- It was three in the afternoon before the headmost boats put in, and at night several remaind on the rocks in the river, it being difficult from the number of different channels to make choice of the right ones-- This was a dreary sight as the water was dayly growing colder and the cakes of floating ice frequently cut the mens legs as they luggd at the boats in the water--

22d Before the sun was up I went to the encampment opposite the headmost boats It had frozen hard in the night, and before the men could get at their boats they were obliged to break the ice with poles and then drag in the water up to their knees--

Light Pirogues were sent from below to take out part of the loading of the boats which were aground--The uppermost boats discharged part of their loading which was carried by the men on shore to the foot of the rapid, at 3 in the afternoon the greater number of the boats were got down, and the work was continued till near dark-- Light boats had some of them made four trips to the head of the rapid-- In the evening large fires were made and rum was given to the men who had sufferd great fatigue and hardship, the ice had greatly damaged some of our boats, a Pirogue in particular was cut thro for the length of 3 feet by which some casks of peas were damaged--

The several Tribes of Indians at night danced the war dance, and sung war songs for near six hours without intermission--

The men being squanderd on the river in different little camps we could not mount pickets guard--

23d. [November 23, 1778] This day we had snow, yet we employed the time in bringing down the Provisions &ca from above and repairing the damage done to our boats by coming down the rapid-- A Court martial on one of the Grenadiers of dhe 8th. (for breeding a disturbance) and one of La Mothe's Volunteers, Giles & Frichette

The Indian chiefs were assembled, when I communicated my design of sending Major Hay to Ouiattonon with the Interpreters Chésne and Reaume, to compliment the nation and acquaint them with our arrival in the Country-- this they approved--

Memm: to have Powder, Rum &cat seized on the King's account.

This night the Indians sung to their Natta as the French call them-- These are Budgets which contain little figures of different kinds, some as Amulets, some as household Gods, these when they go to war they paint with vermillion-- Their Priests who are usually their doctors are provided with an apparatus very different from our quacks, this is usually carryed in the budget and consists of the heads, bones or skins of certain animals, preserved Birds in the feather, Snakes skins, Bows and arrows contrived with springs to bundle up with the other valuable effects, Wolves teeth Panthers claws, Eagles talons &ca-- The Juglers have these at hand for whenever, by drenches steam baths or emetics they have procured any relief from [for] one of their patients, they feign to have drawn a Bears tooth or Birds claw out of the part affected which when they produce to the sick man his imagination seldom fails to take part with the Doctors skill and perfect the cure--

There are Juglers among them who pretend to swallow arrows, eat fire and take down live birds-- The Indians have I am told a certain root which they chew while they perform their fiery tryals, and that they can endure a great degree of heat while the virtue of these roots operata -- When I shall have seen it performed I may judge.

When the camp fires are lighted and when the Warriors have finished their Meal, the Priests goes in the front of the encampment and begins his incantation The Budget being a few paces before him-- at the full extent of his Voice he roars out his prayer or adjuration, which is in a tone between melancholic and terrific-- The various tunes in various languages bellowed aloud by these Heralds of the night, the thickness of the Woods and darkness of the Weather with the blaze of a great many large fires extending along the Savage camp for a considerable length, the intervals of silence from time to time broken by these horrible Songs, sometimes by a Chorus of Wolves in full cry after the Deer, formd a very strange but striking medley-- Every nation has his Magus chainting in the front of the Camp at one time, vying with each other in strength of lungs, at these times they pretend that their devotion procures them the sight of their Genius, and as their fasts are sometimes very severe, I should not be surprized if an empty stomach produced a light head and made visionaries of them--

24th. Being a fine day we finished the reapiring our boats--

Pacane (The nut) a Miamis chief came to my hut to speak on the Subject of a Belt sent by the Chickasaas to the Shawanese and other Nations--

A little after 12 at noon left our camp the water very cold and greatly lowerd by the Frost-- past Riviere à l'anguille which was at this time very low, tho subject at time to violent floods-- It is about 150 yards wide at the mouth and some of us waded it quite across--

The Indians on this river told me there is a prodigious plenty of Eaels in this river which is the more probable as the Indians call them by the same name with a snake (Kinebec) and never eat of them-- hower [however] as I told them and some of their ladies, that a Village situated as theirs, ought to be more populous then it was, and that Eel soupe was nearly equal to Viper broth, they may possibly diminish the number of Eels to add to their own--

Before Sunset we found the Ouabache frozen quite across we determined however to pass at this bar if possible before it should be fortifyed by the addition of floating ice, with some labor & by going out of our boats we effected a passage, and encampd a small distance below a little after Sunset, having been 5 hours without making a halt-- The men very chearfull and not one sick-- encamped about a mile above the petit rocher-- (204)

25th. [November 25, 1778] This morning we found the rapids very shallow from the frost The river about 200 yards across at the petit rocher, a ledge of Rocks about 20 feet high, which having tumbled piecemeal at different times has choaked the channel and left but a very narrow pass for boats-- The pilots must be very dextrous to pass the channels, a great descent rendring the water very swift, and sunken rocks lying scatterd, render the passing very difficult.

Notwithstanding every attention and the efforts of the men several boats were stoppd here, those acquainted with the rapids stood in the water and pointed out the way-- fortunately tho it froze hard there was but little wind-- about 3 o'clock p.m. we got to the pierced island-- (Isle percée)-- (205) a narrow passage for boats is formd at this place either by the violence of the current in great floods or by an earthquake, I rather imagine the former-- Its appearance has nothing romantic or striking, but the water passes with the rapidity of a Millstream-- This morning the heavyest boats had been draggd with great labor, but here all the boats were to be hauled over the shallows and these were in extent half a mile at least below the pierced Island--

These inevitable retardements gave me some uneasy moments as the advance of the season threatned us with a frost severe enough to put an effectual stop to our progress-- The drought had been unusual and the frost had dryed up many of the small streams-- At our encampment some principal men of the Ouiattonons (des considèrés) made their appearance-- The names of the men of this nation are surely the most whymsical of any in the World La Morve (snot) la mauvaise panse (rot gut) le grand Pin (Toledo) la mauvaise bouche (bad or rotten mouth) la gaine (The sheath)--

The French traders give them the character of being thievish, cruel, and cowardly-- As I did not understand the Peankashaa (or Ouiattonon) language, I could not tell what Character these Savages gave the Traders--

However the most reverend of these gentry told me he was himself too old to go to war, besides that he was in mourning, but be would send his Son and some young men, Thae he was not a Chief, yet had some men at his disposal-- Importance and Vanity are of all climates, while I am writing, this man of consequence is no talker, and my Ink freezes in my pen tho I am near enough to a fire to scorch my shins-- I found myself much in his predicament as to importance so was very attentive to their great men--

At our last encampment I had remarkd fossils on the top of the hill and here the soil very fertile, producing, Maple, nutwood, & other forest trees, Oaks of a great size, Beach &ca. The long grass which the men laid in the boats was not speary, but like oatstraw--

26th. Had the boats loaded before sunrise-- saluted our Ouiattonon friends, who from an excess of politeness had nearly fired in my face yesterday--

The frost being very severe, the wind high, and the water very shallow, we had great difficulty to get along-- The roughness of the water prevented our finding the channel-- The Men sufferd much, many of them having their legs cut by the floating ice, being obliged to work in the water to save the boats which were also much injured-- After getting 1/2 a mile we were obliged to land, make fires, and recruit the men with a dram each

About 3 p m. we found the river completely barrd with ice, and that of a considerable thickness-- With the help of poles, and by swaying in the batteaus, (Tho that we knew must open their seams) we broke our Way for about 100 Yards and proceeded about two miles, here again we had another barrier of strong ice to break thro', in order to get into the Channel on the south side of the Garlic Islands (206) Half a mile below them we got into deep water, and encampd on the South shore-- The Indians who had

attempted to pass the ice in the Evening, had workd till they were tired in vain-- They encampd about a mile and half above us on the North Shore--

The Woods where Beech are the chief timber are good for encamping being free from undergrowth-- perhaps the soil is peculiarly adapted to that tree, or its thick shade discourages the brush from rising-- but in many places on the banks of the Ouabache, the Grape vines, raspberries, prickly ash, brambles and thornvines are so thick that ones Flesh as well as their cloaths must be torn to pieces in passing but a short way--

In the night a blast at S. W. cleared away the ice and softend the air--

27 Set off early and had but little difficulty-- halted a little above the coal mine, (207) to rest and warm the men-- Some Ouiattanons met us here and would have detained us, but they were desired to follow to our camp, which was to be a little above the mouth of the Thipicono, a River whose source is near that of Ouabache and whose course is nearly parallell with it--

About a mile before we arrived at our camp, we had to force our way thro' thick floating ice, which choakd the river, soon after our Arrival the Indians just mentioned arrived--

They said I must not be surprized that they had not undertaken to drive out the rebels, as their women and children were too much in their power, but that our arrival encouraged them to act, and I might be assured they would do what I should require of them--These men informed me the rebels were gone from St. Vincennes to Kaskaskias--

Tne coal mine lies on each side of the river the N. side of which is hilly the S. level-- The abundance of fine timber will for centuries render tne opening this mine unnecessary-- But so great are the disadvantages attending the settling on the banks of this river, notwithstanding the fertility of the soil, as will probably deter any but Indian Traders from it and they must be the poorer sort. Its vast distance from the sea, the scarcity of water for a part of the Year, and the violent floods in the Spring and fall, the turbulence of the Savages inhabiting these parts who are more fickle, ignorant, and jealous than their neighbours.

The characters of most of the Europeans who have dealings with them are not likely to improve the morals, or remove the jealousies of the Indians, as in all remote posts are to be found the most faithless and abandond among the Traders-- Men of that swamp will naturally attempt to push their fortune where they are least known--

These Indians as well as the Ilinois, and Misouri Tribes, have been kept almost altogether in the dark with respect to the power of the British Nation, few but contemptible Renegadoes from the English having been seen among them, & the French Traders from interest as well as a mortified pride, decrying as much as possible every thing that was not French-- every thing of European fabric is by them called french, they carry this yet farther by calling some kinds of Wild Ducks French ducks--

Orderd the mens arms to be set against horses in the Streets and a walking Sentry at night in each Street of the camp, to give notice of rain, and to take the alarm from the out Picketts--

28th. [November 28, 1778] Stoppd at the cabin of the white head a chief of the Ouittanon Indians, who expressd great pleasure at seeing me, told me he had always encouraged those of his nation to wait my arrival, that the Chiefs who were out at their hunting ground were not very distant and could readyly be summoned, that he should go down to our camp to hear what might pass in the assembly-- This Chief told me that the sale of Lands made by the Old Tobacco (a Peankashaa) had much displeased all the Indians-- That the situation of their families had deterrd the Savages from taking an active part against the rebels, but that our coming would be a great encouragement to them--

The few Indians at this wintering ground had killed an amazing quantity of game-- I was regaled by the princess if not in the neatest, at least in the most hospitable manner, Some Raccoon's flesh smoaked, and teized (208) so as to look like shreds of Oakum, was taken out of a skin and served in a platter-- The lady then took some raccoons grease out of a bag with a wooden Miquain or spoon, and with a hand of much the same color with the spoon, scooped out what stuck in it-- These good folk were much chagrined that I could not stay till their soupe, of Venison Beans, and Maize was ready, but as we set off, they threw a dozen Head Raccoons into the boat-- These peoples Cabins, and manner of living is too nearly like that of other Indians to merit any particular description--

we encamped a small mile above the Village of Ouiattanon not very comfortably, as wood was scarce, and it had raind from 12 at noon 'till pretty far in the night.--