(An occasional series highlighting British Lieutenant Governor Henry Hamilton’s march south from Detroit to recapture Vincennes (Indiana) on its 240th anniversary.)
As fall progressed, cold set in and the weather began to catch up with Hamilton’s advancing army. By November, it regularly dealt with freezing rain, snow, mud, and ice on the river and nearby trails. MacLeod’s November 27th entry alludes to a few of those logistical challenges and the rather low opinion that the captain had of American soldiers, which began to place higher in MacLeod’s thinking as the army neared the territory so recently conquered by George Rogers Clark.
“Embarked at eight as usual, met with Great fields of ice this day But pretty good water. So that we made us of our Oars only in two Rapids where most of the men was obliged to drag especially those in Boats because they draw more water than the Perogues, besides this the channels in the River are as if cut Purposely for no other Craft than Perogues. We arrived at K [one or two words illegible] at 4 oClock called [sic; camped?] 10 miles from Weatono. Us as our tents were Pitched five Savages from that Plase Arrived in camp, who acquainted us that there was no less than 200 of their nation ready to Join us the moment we arrived at the above Place. They further told us that the Rebels had abandoned Au Post. How true this is alittle more time we discover. But it agrees with my own opinion for I never once thorough they would make a Stand either there or at the Illinois with So numbers especially on hearing that the Lieut. Govr. was coming who they know had all the Indians read at [hi]s call.”
William A. Evans and Elizabeth S. Sklar, eds., Detroit to Fort Sackville, 1778-1779: The Journal of Norman MacLeod, (Detroit: Friends of the Detroit Public Library/Wayne State University Press, 1978), 87. The spelling and grammar errors are all from the original as transcribed by Evans and Sklar. Evans and Sklar suspect “Weatono” is MacLeod’s reference to “Ouiatenon.”