Bouquet’s Expedition against the Indians  1764
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Collection Scope and Content Note

Bouquet’s Expedition against the Indians consists of two headquarters books (262 pages) of orders issued by Colonel Henry Bouquet, spanning August-November, 1764, during which time he lead a small army, made up of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland troops, into western Ohio Indian territory to retrieve all white captives in the region and to enforce a peace settlement with the Delaware, Mingo, Shawnee, and Wyandot Indians. The orderly books are entitled "Orders and Dispositions for the Troops Serving in the Southern Department on an Expedition against the Savages, in 1764," and are the first two of a three volume set (the whereabouts of the third volume is unknown, but Bouquet's mission ended only nine days after the second journal ends). The two volumes are written in several different hands.

The entries contain typical orders, such as promotions, disciplinary actions, travel progress, food ration amounts, and the daily parole and countersign, but the books are notable for their detailed descriptions of Bouquet's military strategies for leading a small army into an unfamiliar wilderness, and for their thorough documentation of army life. Orders contain lengthy discussions of troop formations and are accompanied by diagrams of camp layouts, and marching and attack formations. (For a complete list of diagrams, see the Related Collections section below where each sketch has been individually catalogued). Bouquet gives specific instructions for how the camp is to be maintained. For example, on August 18 he orders: "At least Ten yards in Front and rear of the different faces of the Encampment to be cleared & swept Clean Immediately. All the men off Duty to be employed at this Work and the Quarter Master of the Day will see that is properly performed." Each operation is given in a similar if not better level of attention. Bouquet often even specifies the precise distance that should separate troops while marching. No detail, it seems, is too small to escape Bouquet's attention.

Bouquet's orders contain the names of his officers and many of the soldiers marching with him. Throughout the journal he notes the numbers, ranks, and occupations of his forces, as well as those stationed in forts along the way. Positions include regulars, light infantry, reserve, flankers, advanced rifle men, doctors, surgeons, cattle drivers, coopers, horse men, axe men, and hunters. The troops expended much effort clearing paths through the thick forests, but their hatchets served an important second purpose. On September 8, Bouquet recommended that the officers "be particularly carefull that their Men do not negligently lose or abuse their Hatchets as they are the only weapons they can depend on in Attacking the Enemy after they have discharged their Fire Arms."

The orderly books document women traveling with the troops, though Bouquet did not approve of their presence. On August 13 and 15, Bouquet ordered a prohibition on women travelling with the army. By September 23, however, Bouquet ordered that "One Woman belonging to Each Corps & two Nurses for the Genl Hospital will be pitched upon by the Commanding Offic[ers] of Corps to proceed wt ye Army...All the Women now in Camp and Those unnecessary in Garrison are to be sent down the Country." Bouquet repeated this order on September 27 and threatened that any women following the army would "be punished in the Severest Manner and sent back unprotected from the Enemy and unprovided wt Food." Nurses were mentioned again on November 1, in an order for them to attend the sick and the young children among the captives.

The second volume opens with a general order from Bouquet stating "that every thing is now ready to act offensively against the enemy Indians in order to obtain satisfaction for the Murders and depredations they have committed against his Majestys Subjects, without the least provocation, cause, or pretence...The Savages now will find to their Terror...men [filled] with resentment at at so many Injuries received and not yet revenged" (October 2, 1764). Though similar proclamations of revenge are scattered throughout the books, the mission turned out to be largely peaceful with few violent encounters with the enemy. In fact, after a soldier was murdered by some Indians on November 7, Bouquet first requested that the chiefs offer up the murderer for justice, and also "Expressly forbid that any person in the Army shou'd Offer Violence, to any of the Indians on that account." Bouquet sought to control all British interactions with the Indians. He forbade any trading, especially horse trading, between soldiers and Indians, and commanded that "Any person Detected for the future, in the Actual possession of a horse, not his own whether he be a White man, or Indian will be Immediately Hang'd" (November 8). The punishment for embezzlement or theft was equally severe (October 8).

Of particular interest is the description of the expedition's treatment of the returned white captives. On October 29, for instance, Bouquet ordered that "Upon the delivery of the Prisoners they are to be separated and sent to the Apartments alloted for each Sex. Exact and distinct Lists of their Names to be Immediately taken, specifying their Age, Sex, where and when taken &c And particular description of the Features, Complexion, Size...there will be many among them who are very much attached to the Savages by having lived wt them from their Infancy, These if not narrowly watched may be apt to make their Escape after they are delivered up." These descriptions were taken so that family would be able to claim their lost relatives. Also of interest are references to military leaders such as General Thomas Gage, General John Forbes, and Sir William Johnson.

Bouquet's forces marched through the following locations in Pennsylvania and Ohio, as noted in the orderly books:

Volume 1, August 5-October 1, 1864 (167 pages): Carlisle, Fort Loudoun, Fort Littleton, Fort Bedford, Camp at Edmonds Swamp, Quemahoning Bridge, Fort Ligonier, a camp at Nine Mile Run, and Fort Pitt.

Volume 2, October 2 to November 9, 1764 (95 pages): Mont Gage, a number of encampments on the banks of the Ohio River labeled by mileage markers from Fort Pitt, camp at Tuscarawas, camps on the Muskingum River, and camps near the Wakatomika Creek.

The back of the first volume contains 7 pages of earlier general orders, starting on November [18], 1763, with a blank order followed by lengthier entries for scattered dates between January 7, 1764 and June 14, 1764:

  • January 7: General orders commendation from His Majesty for the Battle of Bushy Run.
  • January 15: Notice of a general court marshal hearing in Albany.
  • January 16: Discharge and payment of the members of the 1st Battalion Royal American Regiment.
  • January 23: Information for the discharge of the men of the 77 and 42 Regiments.
  • February 22: Orders for transporting the 3rd Battalion.
  • March 30: Future instructions for accounting for leaves of absence.
  • April 1: Announcement of Colonel Bradstreet's appointment.
  • April 4: Rough estimates of numbers of officers in the Royal American Regiment.
  • June 14: recruiting notice.

See Related Collections for information on the published versions of the journals.

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