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History by Charles Stedman concerning the cooperation of Native Americans with the British Army [Extracts]
Stedman, Charles, 1753-1812
1794
Volume 10, Pages 714-715

[Reprinted from Stedman's History of the American War. Vol. 1. P. 248]
About the Use of Savages Against the Americans.

“Such cool, deliberate, and resolute conduct was the more remarkable, that Congress had now to contend with an additional enemy. This enemy was the Indians. It has been shown how unsuccessful every attempt had hitherto proved to detach the Southern Colonies from the support of the common cause to their own immediate defence, by involving them in civil war through the means of the Regulators and Highland Emigrants in the Carolinas, or of the Negroes in Virginia. It has also been shown that the provincials adduced these attempts as charges against their several Governors. Unsuccessful as these endeavors had hitherto been, the consequences that would result from such a plan of operations were too important to be neglected. British agents were again employed in engaging the Indians to make a diversion and to enter the Southern Colonies on their back and defenceless parts. Accustomed to their dispositions and habits of mind the agents found but little difficulty in bringing them over to their purpose by presents and hopes of spoil and plunder. A large body of men was to be sent to West Florida in order to penetrate through the territories of the Creeks, Chickasaws and Cherokees. The warriors of these nations were to join the body and the Carolinas and Virginia were immediately to be invaded. At the same time the attention of the Colonies was to be diverted by another formidable naval and military force which was to make an impression on the sea coast. But this undertaking was not to depend solely on the British army and Indians. It was intended to engage the assistance of such of the white inhabitants of the back settlements as were known to be well affected to the British cause. Circular letters were accordingly sent to those persons by Mr Stuart requiring not only the well affected but also those who wished to preserve their property from the miseries of a civil war to repair to the royal standard as soon as it should be erected in the Cherokee country with all their horses, cattle and provisions for which they should be liberally paid. ∗ ∗ ∗ Matters were not yet ripe for execution when the Creeks, a bloody and cruel race eager to partake of the expected plunder, resolved not to await the arrival of the British troops but to commence the insurrection

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immediately. They proceeded in the execution of their intentions with incredible barbarity.” ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗

“In addition to the strength already possessed by the English in Canada, several nations of Savages who inhabit the back settlements of that province and the borders of the Western Lakes, resolved to take up arms against the Americans. The acceptance of their assistance has occasioned much discussion and a variety of opinions. General Burgoyne was certainly induced to adopt this measure from a knowledge of their warlike character and from a well-grounded supposition that, if he refused their offers, they would instantly join the Americans. But he resolved to bring them into action as little as possible. In the preceding year he did not make much use of them and he determined to pursue, as far as he could with prudence, the same line of conduct in the present year. He knew that their object in all wars was murder, desolation, and destruction; and though he certainly wished to conquer the revolted Americans, yet he did not wish to exterminate them. His conduct however in this respect, did not receive general approbation; for it was contended that partial severity was general mercy, and that, to put a speedy end to the rebellion, the most vigorous and resolute measures should be adopted. Among the opponents of General Burgoyne on this subject was the minister himself, who accordingly, transmit ed orders to General Carleton to use all his influence in securing the assistance of the Indian nations. This he did so effectually, that he became fearful at length of obtaining a larger number than was necessary.”1


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1 History of the American War by C. Stedman who served under Sir W. Howe, Sir H. Clinton and under the Marquis Cornwallis, to whose army he was Commissary, published in London in 1794.