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with pride and truth: “Thus much have we done for the advancement of civilization and the happiness of the human race.”
In making out this report, I have been guided by the letter and spirit of iny instructions, and have striven to present a clear and faithful picture of the subjects indicated by them. These were, in brief terms, the present condition of the country its productions and resources—the navigability of its streams—its capacities for trade and commerce-and its future prospects. This must be my excuse for my meagre contributions to general science. More, I fear, has been expected in this way than has been done; yet the expedition has collected some valuable specimens in each of the kingdoms of natural history, and I hope to ob:ain means and authority to have them properly described and illustrated.
I have mentioned in various parts of my report the names of persons who have assisted me by counsel or information. I shall close it with the name of the last, the ablest, and the best. Whatever of interest and value may be found in the report, is mainly attributable to the guiding judgment and cheering heart of my friend and kinsman, M. F. Maury,
BY MANN BUTLER, ESQ.
Continued from page 19, vol. XII, No. 1. VIRGINIA NEGOTIATIONS FOR ARMS THROUGH COLS. GIBSON AND LINN
WITH THE SPANISH GOVERNOR OF LOUISIANA IN 1776. 156 KEGS OF GUNPOWDER BROUGHT FROM NEW ORLEANS TO FORT PITT. 2D EXPEDITION FROM FORT PITT TON. ORLEANS FOR MILITARY STORES, BY COL. DAVID ROGERS; HIS DEFEAT AND DEATH NEAR THE LITTLE MIAMI. EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF CAPT. ROBERT T. BENHAM ON THAT EXPEDITION. EARLY ANGLO-AMERICAN DESCENT OF THE MISS., FROM FORT PITT IN 1769 BY COL. RICHARD TAYLOR AND HIS BROTHER HANCOCK TAYLOR, FATHER AND UNCLE TO THE LATE PRESIDENT TAYLOR. A SECOND DESCENT OF THE SAME RIVER IN 1774. FOUNDATION OF LEXINGTON, KY., IN 1779.
While the pioneers were thus bravely defending themselves against appalling numbers of savage enemies, the government of the parent State was not inattentive to the interests of her western children. By a stretch of diplomacy scarcely to have been expected, in so young a State, just sprung out of colonial bondage, yet still used to much independent care of her wide and exposed dominion, the executive of Virginia dispatched a mission to New Orleans for the
purpose of procuring military supplies for her western posts. The officers sent on this perilous expedition were Colonels Gibson and Linn, the latter the grandfather of the late Dr. Lewis F. Linn, the lamented senator from the State of Missouri. These gentlemen descended the Mississippi in 1776, from Fort Pitt to New Orleans, by orders, it is presumed, from the governor of Virginia.
So extraordinary an adventure may well require particular confirmation, for the satisfaction of the reader. It can be furnished to a most remarkable degree. John Smith, lately, that is in 1833, a resident of Woodford county, in the State of Kentucky, was in 1776 engaged reconnoitering the country in company with James Harrod, so eminently distinguished in the difficulties and dangers of Kentucky.
On their return, the companions separated; Harrod to go to North Carolina, and Smith to Potter's Creek, on the Monongahela. While travelling on the bank of the Ohio, the latter discovered Gibson and party descending the river; they hailed Smith, and prevailed upon him to embark on this, one of the boldest of western adventures. The party succeeded in their object with the Spanish government at New Orleans, by obtaining one hundred and fifty-six kegs of gunpowder. This, Smith helped to carry around the falls of Ohio to the mouth of Bear Grass Creek in the spring of 1777. Each man carried three kegs along the portage, one at a time. This powder was delivered at Wheeling or Fort Henry, and thence conveyed to Fort Pitt. Independent of this particularity of circumstances learned from an old and most venerable citizen of Louisville, * it was solemnly deposed to, in a suit at lay by a respectable party in the transaction. It was frequently mentioned by Col. Linn in his life time, and is still known (1833] as his information in the family left by this gallant and energetic man.
This remarkable adventure is confirmed by another of a similar nature, undertaken by Col. David Rogers and Capt. Robert T. Benham. The former officer had been dispatched with a couple of keel boats to New Orleans, from some point on the upper Ohio, for the same purpose as Col's. Gibson and Linn, to procure military supplies for the western posts. This is mentioned in the let
• The late Worden Pone, Esq., long clerk with untainted reputation to the highest courts of law in Jefferson county, Ky.
Capt. Donne, formerly a well known pilot of the Falle, at Lonisville, Ky..
ter of instructions from Gov. Henry addressed to Lieut. Col. Clark, dated 2d January, 1778.8 In this letter the Governor refers to the supplies brought from New Orleans by “Capt. Lynn,” as he calls him.
The particulars of this second expedition are equally worthy of enumeration, resting as they do, upon information of the most unquestionable authority.*
When Rogers reached the mouth of the Ozark or Arkansas, he sailed up that river, some twelve or eighteen leagues, to the head of back water from the Mississippi, and above the overflown ground; here, he deposited one of his boats, and stationed his men, while he proceeded with six or seven of them, including Capt. Benham, down the Mississippi to New Orleans. When he arrived at this city, he found a British sloop of war in the port, the captain of which suspicious of the object of an American party from this direction, [a circumstance of no common occurrence at that day,] watched his movements narrowly, and impeded his business with the Spanish officers. For although these were well disposed to promote the American interests, yet, as the courts of Madrid and London were not openly at war, embarrassment was unavoidable in the presence of a British force.† The situation of Col. Rogers was truly perplexing. Under these circumstances, he found it necessary to send Benham back to Virginia through the appalling country, on the west side of the Mississippi. He, with the hardihood charasteristic of the times, subsisting principally on Indian corn boiled in lye, to preserve it, passed through the Indian wilderness to Kaskaskia, then under the dominion of the same wide spreading State, that had sent him to New Orleans. Thence, he proceeded to the Falls of Ohio, in the spring of 1779; soon after his arrival at that place, Rogers, by some unexplained success, reached the same place with his two keel boats loaded with military supplies on his return to Fort Pitt. Capt. Benham was joyfully taken on board, and placed in command of one of the boats, and the little American squadron, the second escort of military supplies procured by our daring countrymen from New Orleans, moved
# See Appendix, p. 418 and 449.
• The late Judge Dunlavy, of Ohio, and Joseph S. Benham, Esq., formerly an eminent lawyer of the bar at Louisville, Ky., and St. Louis, as well as Judge Burnet's Notes, 292.
† The declaration of war on the part of Spain against England took place January 16th, 1979.
on its destination up the Ohio. When the expedition reached the sand bar above the present city of Cincinnati, it was bare for more than half the width of the river; here the party stopped on the Kentucky shore to prepare breakfast; it stopped a mile below the Little Miami." A number of Indians on rafts and in canoes was then seen coming out of the mouth of the Little Miami, which was then high, and shot its waters [and consequently the Indians on their rafts,] nearly across the Ohio river. On seeing the enemy, Col. Rogers ordered his men to prepare and meet them ; thinking he would be able to surprise them. But on marching through the willows with which the bar was then covered, and before they had arrived at the place where they expected to meet the Indians, they were themselves surrounded by overpowering numbers. The enemy quickly dispatched the greatest portion of the crew, with their gallant commander Col. Rogers. One of the boats, however, escaped with two men, and reached the Falls. Not more than nine or ten of the party ever returned to their families.
The Indians took and plundered one of the boats, out of which they got considerable booty, consisting of ready made clothing and munitions of war, which had been obtained from the Spaniards for the use of the forces on the western frontiers of Virginia.
It is not a little remarkable, that in the course of some years afterwards, one of the periodical freshets of the river having subsided, several gross of metal buttons were found on the bar, where this battle had been fought. They were deposited, by the fisherman who found them, in Dorfuille's Museum, at Cincinnati. *.
The adventures of Capt. Benham are too romantic to be overlooked, supported as they are by most unquestionable testimony. Capt. Benham, shortly after breaking through the enemy's line, was dangerously wounded in the hip.f Fortunately a large tree had lately fallen near the spot where he lay, and with great pain he dragged himself among its bushy branches, and lay concealed. The Indians eager in pursuit of others, passed him without notice; and by midnight, all was quiet. On the following day the enemy returned to the battle ground, in order to strip the dead, and take
• There seems to be some confusion in the original account furnished to the author, by the late Judge Dunlavy, of Ohio, and Joseph S. Benham, a son of Capt. Benham. It represents the party above stated, as coming out of the Little Miami, and yet coming from an attack upon the settlements of Kentucky, The discrepancy is irreconcilable by any means, in the author's possession.
† McClung's Sketches.
care of the plunder. Benham although in danger of famishing, permitted the Indians to pass without making known his condition; correctly supposing that his crippled condition would only induce them to tomahawk him upon the spot, in order to avoid the trouble of carrying him to their towns. He therefore lay close, till evening of the second day, when perceiving a raccoon descending a tree near him, he shot it hoping to devise some means of reaching it, kindle a fire, and make a meal. Scaroely had his gun cracked, than he heard a human cry apparently not more than fifty yards off. Supposing it to be an Indian, he hastily reloaded his gun, and remained silent, 'expecting the approach of an enemy. Presently the same voice was heard again, but much nearer. Still Benham made no reply; but cocked his gun, and sat ready to fire, as soon as an object appeared. A third halloo was quickly heard followed by an exclamation of distress, which convinced Benham that the unknown must be a white man. The man now appeared as he had escaped from the late encounter with both arms broken. In this crippled condition, the two wounded men though wounded $0 differently, were enabled to help each other. Benham could load his gun and kill game with readiness, while his associate would kick the game to the spot, where Benham sat, and cooked it. When no wood was near, the armless man would rake up brush with his feet and gradually roll it within reach of the hands of Benham. In this painful way, Benham both fod his companion and dressed his wounds, as well as his own ; tearing up both of their shirts for this purpose. Their greatest difficulty was in procuring water; but Benham took his own hat, and putting the rim between the teeth of his companion directed him to wade into the Licking river, up to his neck, and then dip the hat in, by sinking his head under the water. In this wonderful manner, [it must be admitted,] the two wounded soldiers are most credibly reported to have helped each other, till late in the ensuing fall, about the latter part of November, 1779. The crippled party had by this time, owing to increasing strength, managed to put up a small shed or camp at the mouth of Licking river, with the hope of arresting the attention of some passing boatmen. After much difficulty and parley, [for white men were often employed by the Indians as decoys to bring passengers into their power by cries of pretended distress,] the helpless and forlorn couple were taken to Louisville; their former clothes, which had been taken off by the escaping