'Thrilling Adventures Among the American Indians'
an excerpt from the 1905 work by Edward S. Ellis
The Mingo chieftain known as Logan had a fame which
reached the other side of the Atlantic; he was the
author of perhaps the best known speech ever delivered
by one of his race.
Logan was a chief like his father, but lived most
of his life in the West, probably at Sandusky, or
on a branch of the Scioto. A number of his warriors
made their homes at these places. Why, if this chief
was an Iroquois, is he called a Mingo? The explanation
lies in the fact that the two words mean the same.
The Iroquois are sometimes spoken of as the Mingoes,
Menwes, or Maquas.
[In fact, though this apparently was unknown to Edward S. Ellis, the Mingo were a sub-group of the Seneca, one of the five original tribes of the Iroquois Nation. The Iroquois were an alliance of Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, and Seneca. This confederacy formed in the early 17th century, and its members rarely negotiated with the white settlers individually thereafter. The Tuscarora joined as non-voting members in 1722. So the man known by the whites as Logan was both Mingo and Iroquois, as one today may be both a West Virginian and an American, or a citizen of both Dublin and Ireland.... For a thorough and more scholarly history of the Iroquois, see Lee Sultzman's Iroquois History ].
one of the bravest of men, loved peace above war.
Throughout the dark years before and during the plotting
of Pontiac, he took no part except that of peacemaker.
In time he became a most bitter enemy of the race,
and if ever an Indian had good reason for such enmity,
he was Logan.
In the spring of 1774, several white explorers in
the Ohio country said they had been robbed by Indians
of a number of horses, although it is by no means
certain that such was the fact, or that, if the theft
took place, that the thieves were not white men. The
explorers claimed that the Indians should be taught
a lesson that would prevent any more outrages.
The infamous Colonel Michael Cresap gathered a party
of men as evil as himself, the members coming together
on the site of the present city of Wheeling, West
Virginia. Learning that some Indians were near at
hand, Cresap made ready to attack them. The question
of their guilt or innocence was of no concern to him.
He knew he had enough men to defeat the small company,
and that was all he cared to know before acting.
As if to help in the fearful crime, a canoe was seen
coming from the other shore. It contained one warrior
and several women and children. Hiding themselves,
Cresap and his companions waited til the party had
landed, and then each picked out his victim. When
the guns were fired, not a single man, woman or child
escaped. All these people belonged to the family of
Logan, known far and near as the “friend of
the white man.”
The fearful outrage against the red man brought on
a war in which occurred one of the most remarkable
battles between the two races that has ever been fought
in our history. The event, for some reason, has not
attracted the attention it deserves.
Logan was changed from a warm, unselfish friend of
the white people into their bitter enemy, and he left
his home with only eight warriors. Instead of attacking
the settlements on the Ohio, where everybody expected
the first blow would fall, he passed them by and made
his way to the Muskingum, where nobody dreamed of
The first white men seen were three who were pulling
flax in a field. One of them was shot down, and the
others taken prisoner. They traveled a long distance
through the forest to the Indian village where it
was ordered that the captives should run the gauntlet.
This consists of the unarmed person dashing between
two rows of his captors, standing a few feet from
each other, all armed with clubs or knives which they
strike at the unfortunate as he speeds forward and
tries to dodge the cruel blows. If he succeeds in
reaching the extremity of the double line, he is sometimes
spared or allowed to make a break for liberty. But
the ordeal is so dreadful that not one in a hundred
Logan did not like any kind of torture, and he told
one of the captives how he could escape many of the
blows aimed at him. The man survived, but the Indians
condemned him to be burned at stake. Logan pleaded
for his life … he cut the cords and caused his
adoption into an Indian family.
The Shawnees and Delawares had suffered many wrongs
and outrages, and they now joined in the war against
the whites. The Virginia Legislature was in session
when the news reached that body, and Governor Dunmore
ordered the preparation of three thousand men to march
against the Indians. One half of the force, under
the command of General Andrew Lewis, was to march
to the mouth of the Kanawha, while the governor was
to lead the other half to a point on the Ohio, in
order to strike the Indian towns between the two.
The movement of Lewis was to draw off the main body
of warriors, leaving the way open for the governor.
Having destroyed the towns, he was then to form a
junction with General Lewis at Point Pleasant, subsequent
action of the army to be guided by circumstances.
General Lewis with eleven hundred men began his march
on September 11 for Point Pleasant, 160 miles distant
following the Great Kanawha. The whole distance led
through a wilderness without trails (known to white
men), but the force had a veteran scout of the frontier
to guide them over the best route. They reached their
destination on the last day of the month, and formed
an intrenched (sic) camp. Lewis waited for more than
a week for the coming of Dunmore, but he did not arrive,
and the officer was in a quandary. The action of Governor
Dunmore laid him open to the gravest charges…
On the morning of October 10, while General Lewis
was still wondering and perplexed over his failure
to hear from Governor Dunmore, a white man came to
him with a startling story. While he and a companion
were hunting deer, they ran upon a camp of a numerous
body of Indians in their war paint. They fired upon
the hunters and killed one, the other escaping with
great difficulty by fleet running.
The news brought by this messenger left no doubt
that a large force of red men were hurrying to attack
the soldiers. It is said that General Lewis coolly
lit his pipe and smoked for several minutes while
reflecting upon the situation. He then ordered his
brother, Colonel Charles Lewis, and another officer
of similar rank to reconnoiter the approaching enemy,
while the commander arranged to support them. The
two regiments had gone barely a fourth of a mile when
they met the Indians, advancing to the attack.
It was early in the morning and the battle opened
immediately. The Virginians had not forgotten the
lesson of Braddock’s defeat, and fought in the
same fashion as their opponents, taking advantage
of the trees, bushes, roughness of the ground, and
every object that afforded protection. The conflict
was long and desperate. The uniform of Colonel Lewis
drew the attention of the warriors, and he soon fell
mortally wounded. The Indians speedily proved their
superiority and put the soldier to flight, after having
shot down a large number. In the crisis of the disorderly
retreat, when a general massacre was imminent, reinforcements
arrived, and, by their firmness, checked the pursuit
and compelled the Indians in turn to take refuse behind
a breastwork of logs and bush, which they had been
wise enough to prepare for such a check.
The redskins displayed rare military skill, for the
breastwork alluded to extended clean across a neck
of land from river to river. They had placed men on
both sides of the stream, so that if the Virginians
were defeated, not one of them would have been able
to save himself. It is claimed that the battle which
followed was the most hotly contested of any ever
fought between white and red men. The Indians did
not scramble for the breastwork, but gave way, foot
by foot, as may be said, contesting the ground with
an obstinacy that more than once made the issue doubtful.
Colonel Lewis having fallen, his brother officer,
Colonel Fleming, was twice wounded, but kept his command
and animated others by his coolness and daring. When
the reinforcements arrived at the critical moment,
the tide was turned, but Colonel Field was killed
and Colonel Fleming, already twice hurt, was shot
through the lungs, but still refused to give place
to any other officer.
Behind that blazing breastwork were fifteen hundred
brave warriors of the Shawnee, Delaware, Mingo, Wyandot,
and Cayoga tribes under the lead of Logan, Cornstalk,
Red Eagle, and other famous chiefs. Cornstalk was
the head sachem, and the attacking soldiers hear his
ringing commands many times above the din of battle.
When he saw one of this frightened men trying to run
away, he sent his tomahawk into his brain. He dashed
from side to side of the long line, cheering all by
his example. The battle lasted from morning until
late in the afternoon, something, as has been said,
unknown in similar circumstances, and still the Indians
held their ground, despite the repeated and desperate
charges of the soldiers.
General Lewis became intensely anxious. He was distressed
at the sight of his men who fell at every rush. He
saw that the Indians must be routed before night or
the Virginians were almost sure to suffer disastrous
defeat. He sent three companions who favored by the
forest, reached the rear of the enemy unobserved.
They then dashed to the attack. The warriors did not
believe they were part of the force they had been
fighting for hours, but thought they were reinforcements
and that the Indians’ only safety lay in instant
flight. Just as the sun was setting, they retreated
across the Ohio and made for their towns along that
The loss of the soldiers included nine officers and
about fifty privates, with nearly a hundred of them
wounded. That of the Indians is not known, but it
is not likely that it exceeded that of the whites.
Judging by those who were killed and wounded, the
circumstances, and the length of the conflict, the
battle of Point Pleasant in the autumn of 1774 seems
to justify the claim that it was the hardest fought
one that ever took place between the American and
After burying his dead, General Lewis withdrew agreeably
to the commands of Governor Dunmore. The latter advanced
to within a few miles of the leading Indian town on
the Chillicothe, for the purpose of treating with
the tribes, from whom he had already received requests
to do so. The meetings were marked with distrust on
both sides. Cornstalk, in an indignant speech, laid
the whole blame of the war upon the whites, due mainly
to the murder of Logan’s family. Governor Dunmore
showed much tact, and in the end, secured the pledges
of the leading chiefs to the peace he sought.
Among the sachems who signed the treaty, the name
of Logan did not appear, nor would he go to the conference.
Lord Dunmore was so anxious to obtain his name that
he sent a special messenger to the cabin of the Mingo,
a long distance away in the woods. When this messenger
explained his business to Logan, the latter led him
a little way from his cabin, and the two sat down
beside each other on a fallen tree. The sachem gave
his assent to the treaty, and in doing so, uttered
that memorable speech which will live as long as man
can admire eloquence, pathos and truth:
I appeal to any white man to say if he ever
entered Logan’s cabin hungry, and he gave him
not meat; if ever he came cold and naked, and he clothed
During the course of the long, bloody war,
Logan remained idle in his cabin, an advocate of peace.
Such was my love for the whites, that my countrymen pointed
as they passed and said, ‘Logan is the friend
of the white man.’
I had even thought to have lived with you,
but for the injuries of one man. Colonel Cresap,
the last spring, in cold blood and unprovoked, murdered
all the relatives of Logan, not even sparing my women
There runs not a drop of my blood in the
veins of any living creature. This called on me for
revenge. I have sought it. I have killed many. I have
fully glutted my vengeance. For my country, I rejoice
at the beams of peace. But do not harbor a thought
that mine is the joy of fear. Logan never felt fear.
He will not turn on his heel to save his life. Who
is there to mourn for Logan? Not one.
more about the Mingo people