Cooperstown Crier - Your Source for Hometown News - Cooperstown, Baseball Hall of Fame

January 24, 2013

Battle with the Indians

Cooperstown Crier

---- — From the Otsego Herald

for Saturday, Jan. 23, 1813

Compiled, with comments



WHEREAS my wife Betsey, has eloped from my bed and board, this is therefore, to forbid all persons harboring or trusting her on my account, as I will pay no debts of her contracting after this date. JAMES YOUNG, Jun., Milford, Jan. 8, 1813.

Perpetual motion hoax

All’s over! The secret’s out! The perpetual motion lately advertised in this city and exhibited in a house, about a mile out of town, and for the sight of which many a credulous visitor has paid his dollar, is no more!

Alas! Its motion is stopped forever. Among the visitors was Mr. Fulton, whose suspicions were awakened yesterday by the sound of a turning crank. On a repeated visit this morning, accompanied by several friends who were determined, if there was an imposition to detect it, these suspicions were confirmed.

They began by requesting to take the machine to pieces for the purpose of examination, which being refused, they commenced an attack upon it, and the first piece torn off the upper wheel to which the perpendicular shaft was fastened, discovered the cheat.

It appeared that the motion was communicated by a crank turned by an agent in the chamber above; on entering which they found him in the act.

The confusion that ensued was not small. The three fellows concerned returned the money to those present, but it is much to be lamented that they were suffered to make their escape unmolested. —New York Evening Post

COMMENT: The hoaxer was Charles Redheffer, who had first exhibited his machine in Philadelphia, and then moved to New York. He was exposed by none other than Robert Fulton (1765-1815), the inventor of the steamboat. According to one account, “Fulton… removed some boards from a wall neighboring the machine. A long hidden cord made of catgut was revealed. Fulton followed this cord upstairs where he found an old bearded man sitting and eating a crust of bread with one hand, while he turned a hand-crank with the other. An angry mob, realizing the scam, demolished the perpetual motion machine, and Redheffer fled.” Never one to give up, Redheffer was still working on “perpetual motion” as late as 1820, when he got a patent for one such devise. He then vanishes from history.

Battle with the Indians

Franklinton, (Ohio) Dec. 24, 1812. Capt. Hite has just arrived, express from Col. Campbell’s detachment, which it will be recollected, left this place on the 17th ult. [December] on a secret expedition. From him we learn the following account of a most obstinate and hard fought battle, in which the valor, intrepidity and firmness of the American troops shone with a lustre which has never been surpassed during the present war.

On the 17th December, after marching all night, col. Campbell, with his command, arrived at one of the Mississnewa towns, and instantly charged upon the town, drove the savages across the Mississinewa River, killed seven of them and took 37 prisoners — only two of our men were killed in this skirmish. While contending with the enemy at this town, they sent a runner over to another of the towns about three miles distant, which was immediately evacuated.

On the 18th, before day break, the savage yell was heard, the word was given “to arms,” and a most desperate conflict ensued. Captain Pierce, of the Zanesville troop, behaved gallantly, and died nobly. Lieut. Waltz, of Capt. Markell’s company, (from Greenbush, Pa.) was shot through the arm, and not being satisfied with that, he again endeavored to mount his horse, and in making the effort was shot through the head. His death was glorious.

Capt. Trotter, while charging with fury upon the enemy, was wounded in the hand. Lieuts. Basey and Hickman were slightly wounded. A great number of horses were killed. The action commenced with unabated fury for one hour, when the savages were routed and driven in all directions.

Capt. Hite states that between 30 and 40 Indians were known to be killed — how many were wounded could not be ascertained — 37 were taken prisoners. We had two officers and six privates killed, and twenty three privates wounded, eight supposed dangerous.

The town where the battle was fought was burnt without resistance. The Indians were of the Delaware and Miami tribes, entirely destitute of any valuable property.

It was stated that Tecumseh, with 4 or 500 warriors, was about 15 miles from the scene of action, and our troops anticipated another attack on their return.

The attack commenced on the right line commanded by Major Ball, who repelled it with that firm and manly courage which is his distinguishing characteristic…. All fought, with equal bravery, all deserve the highest encomiums. Colonel Campbell’s force was about 600 — that of the enemy about 800, One hundred volunteers are to march from Greensville to reinforce Col. Campbell.

COMMENT: The Battle of the Mississinewa, as it is usually called, took place in Jalapa, Indiana. It has been described as the “first America victory in the War of 1812.” The operation had been ordered by Indiana Governor (and later U.S. President) William Henry Harrison, with the purpose of destroying Indian villages along the Mississinewa River in Indiana. Most of the Indian “prisoners” taken were women and children. The battle is re-enacted every October by Americans fond of re-enacting battles. During their return after the battle, in real life, the American forces suffered terribly from frostbite, rendering some 300 of them unfit for duty. 

For Sale

A few copies of the LIFE OF CHRIST, in elegant binding at six dollars, for sale at the Bookstore of H. & E. Phinney, Jr.