Lurking Assassins
Richard Cartwright, Jr

June 30: We have been now two months in the Indian country, a time too long to spend among the savages in the woods, where we are wasting too many of our liveliest and most cheerful days, the days of our youth, in idleness and dissipation...

July 13: The Indians for these two or three nights past have stolen several things both from men and officers...

July 24: What he [Captain McDonell] says of the Indians he is among may serve as the general character of the whole... "they don't know their own minds an hour; the most trivial occurrence alarms them and carrys off their attention from the object they had an hour before in view; such another set of credulous, whimsical, capricious devils the world cannot produce. They attribute their delays to a multitude of superstitious reasons which would be too tedious to insert here."

July 25: ...I can consider these small parties of [Mohawk] Indians, going out on the frontiers, only as so many bands of lurking assassins seeking an opportunity to destroy the peaceful and industrious inhabitants and ready to glut their cruelty alike with the blood of friend and foe without distinction of sex or age. There are but too many instances which would be shocking to repeat which evince this to be a just estimation of them. Tho' much pain has been taken, it is impossible to bring them to leave women and children unmolested and as for the rest it must be expected that they will regard all white people alike, and if they can but bring off a prisoner or a scalp 'tis all one to them.

August 5: [J. McDonell to Richard Cartwright] "I did everything in my power to prevail upon the Indians to pursue their success but they were so glutted with plunder, prisoners, and scalps that my utmost efforts could not persuade them from retreating to Fort Wallace that night."

August 14: Some prisoners that had been taken by Mr Brant's party were brought thro' this village today; they were cruelly beaten, as I am informed, for I could not bring myself to behold so inhuman a sight.

August 29: The behaviour of the Indians on this occassion [defeat of the forces under Walter Butler and Joseph Brant by General John Sullivan at Newton near Elmira] has fully convinced me that tho they may exert themselves against defenceless people or an enemy taken at surprise with great fury, they will soon give way when taken at equal terms in the field.


Journal of Richard Cartwright, Jr 1779 from The Price of Loyalty by Catherine S. Crary, pages 254-255
McGraw-Hill, New York, 1973