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not to be restrained by any law now in being, or likely to be enacted.
They, poor wretches, have no press, through which their grievances are related. And it is well known, that, when one side only of a story is heard and often repeated, the human mind becomes impressed with it, insensibly.
The annual presents, however, are not given so much with a view to purchase peace, as by way of contribution for injuries not otherwise to be redressed.
Such is the nature of Indians, that nothing will prevent their going where they have any reason to expect presents; and their cravings are insatiable.
RESIDENT INDIAN AGENTS.
To enable, by competent rewards, the employment of qualified and trusty persons, to reside among them as Agents, would contribute to the preservation of peace and good neighborhood. If, in addition, an eligible plan could be devised, for promoting civilization among the friendly tribes, and for carrying on trade with them, upon a scale equal to their wants, and under regulations calculated to protect them from imposition and extortion, its influence, in cementing their interests with ours, could not but be considerable.
INDIAN DRESS: ITS ADOPTION IN THE ARMY.
My men are very bare of regimental clothing, and I have no prospect of supply. So far from regretting this want, during the present campaign, if I were left to pursue my own inclinations, I would not only order the men to adopt the Indian dress, but cause the officers to do it also; and be the first to set the example myself.
Nothing but the uncertainty of obtaining the general approbation, causes me to hesitate a moment, to leave my regimentals, and proceed, as light as an InIdian in the woods.
It is an unbecoming dress, I own, for an officer. But convenience, rather than show, I think, should be consulted.
The reduction of bat-horses* alone, would be sufficient to recommend it; for, nothing is more certain, than that less baggage would be required, and the public benefited in proportion.
It is evident, that soldiers, in that trim, are better able to carry their provisions, are fitter for the active service we must engage in, less liable to sink under the fatigues of a march; and we thus get rid of much baggage, which would lengthen our line of march.
These, and not whim or caprice, were my reasons for ordering this dress.
It occurs to me, that if you
were to dress a
company or two of true woodsmen, in Indian style, and let them make the attack, with screaming and yelling, as the Indians do, it would have very good consequences.
The Continental Congress recommends my procuring, from the colonies of Rhode Island and Connecticut, a quantity of tow-cloth, for the purpose of making Indian or hunting-shirts for the men, many of whom are destitute of clothing.
It is designed as a species of uniform, both cheap and convenient.
MODE OF INDIAN WARFARE.
However absurd it may appear, it is nevertheless certain, that five hundred Indians have it more in their power to annoy the inhabitants, than ten times their number of regulars. Besides the advantageous way they have of fighting in the woods, their cunning and craft, their activity and patient sufferings, are not to be equalled. They prowl about, like wolves; and, like them, do their mischief by stealth. They depend upon their dexterity in hunting, and upon the cattle of the inhabitants, for provisions.
*Col. Daniel Morgan.
INDIANS TO BE OPPOSED TO INDIANS.
Unless we have Indians to oppose Indians, we may expect but small success.
A small number, just to point out the wiles and tricks of the enemy, is better than none.
THE WAR TO BE CARRIED INTO THEIR OWN COUN
My ideas of contending with the Indians, has been uniformly the same. I am clear in the opinion, that the cheapest, (though this may also be attended with great expense,) and most effectual mode of opposing them, where they can make incursions upon us, is to carry the war into their own country; for, supported on the one hand, by the British, and enriching themselves with the spoils of our people, they have every thing to gain, and nothing to lose, while we act on the defensive; whereas, the direct reverse would be the consequence of an offensive war on our part.
Great care should be observed, in choosing active marksmen. The manifest inferiority of inactive per
sons, unused to arms, in this kind of service, (although equal in numbers,) to men who have practised hunting, is inconceivable. The chance against them, is more than two to one.
MODE OF ATTACKING INDIANS.
I suggest, as general rules that ought to govern our operations, to make, rather than receive, attacks, attended with as much impetuosity, shouting, and noise, as possible; and to make the troops act, in as loose and dispersed a way as is consistent with a proper degree of government, concert, and mutual support.
It should be previously impressed upon the minds of the men, whenever they have an opportunity, to rush on, with the war-whoop and fixed bayonet. Nothing will disconcert and terrify the Indians, more than this.
Great caution is necessary, to guard against the snares which their treachery may hold out.
Hostages are the only kind of security to be depended on.