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Hoosier Scout
posted Wed May 23 2001
To Captain Campbell
60th R.A.R.
Commanding Fort Detroit

I am writing you as I was ordered, to inform you of our endeavors is this area. I received your dispatch, dated December 20. As per your orders, I led a detachment to the area mentioned. I have just now returned to Fort Miamis, where we plan to winter.

Upon receipt of your dispatch I set out to the southward. I set out from Fort Ouiatenon with 5 rangers, 4 local militia men, a Mr. Jacobs and 2 of his companions. Mr. Jacobs is a longhunter with credentials from the Governor at Montreal. The rangers were Privates Lafe McAndrew, John Wilson, Ian Macleod, Jacob Miller and John Cockrell. We were to rendezvous with Private Finn McAwley who was scouting to the North of Fort Oiuatenon when we left. We waited at the meeting place until we could wait no longer. Finn arrived two days after our departure. He safely returned to Fort Miamis with the rest of the command.

Our travel was aided by excellent weather. We were making great progress in our journey, until an unfortunate incident occurred. The leader of the militia was our rear guard when Mr. Jacobs, his companions and Private John Cockrell captured him and carried him off. We were not sure what had happened to the 5 men in the rear. Private Miller was now my rear guard and he noticed Mr. Jacobs and one other departing at a distance. We were on our constant guard. We encountered a few Miamis along the way; they were very friendly and had not seen any hostiles in the area. We could find no signs of any such party. That evening we made camp; I had become very exhausted from the journey and was set to rest my detachment. The militia men were very worried about the well being of their friend. Shortly before dark, Mr. Jacobs and party arrived in camp. They assured me that the Militia commander was alive and well. They had let him go. He mentioned he was ill and was returning home. Upon hearings this his friends became very worried. We then set out search parties to locate this unfortunate person. They were successful.

I questioned Mr Jacobs on the matter, and he told me that he did not trust this former enemy as his rear guard and did not trust his intentions. They questioned him throughly and were convinced that he had no ill intentions. The militia man was greatly happy with his ability to leave his captors. He was however very distressed on his treatment. With these problems I decided to return to Fort Ouiatenon. We packed our gear at sunrise and began our return journey. I left Mr. Jacobs and his two companions.

I was on my return going to inform the Governor of this incident and ask for him to investigate Mr. Jacobs credentials. The militia commander departed earlier to scout ahead. On our departure I placed John Cockrell as the guard on the right. I was towards the rear with Lafe McAndrew when there was a great disturbance at the crest of the ridge. On my arriving there I found John Cockrell on the ground with John Wilson holding him prisoner. The militia commander was very upset. He was lying in wait for Mr. Cockrell to pass, when he sprang upon him. The militia men demanded that I place Mr. Cockrell under arrest, accusing him of being in league with Mr. Jacobs. He accused Mr. Cockrell and Mr. Jacobs of trying to ambush our party and make off with our provisions.

I questioned John Cockrell on these accusations and was not convinced of his innocence. I then ordered Mr. Cockrell to be placed under arrest so that he could face a court martial. The militia men urged me to take a different route home fearing that we could be ambushed. We preceded on being very cautious. We were running very low on water. This was a concern, because of the lack of rain fall. As we came near the end of our journey, John Cockrell bolted from us and was fired upon. We searched for him and were unable to find his body or any other sign of him. The militia were very upset with me because I didn't execute Mr. Cockrell. I informed them that he was a soldier of the Crown, and would face a Court Martial. They reminded me of my error following his escape. Our party finally reached our destination and I dismissed the militia and returned to Fort Miamis. I assured the militia that I would report this matter to you and the Governor. I must strongly request that if Mr. Jacobs or Private John Cockrell appear at Fort Detroit that they be placed under arrest until this matter can be resolved. The rest of the detachment are well and making the appropriate preparations for the ensuing winter. Our rations are low and we will need powder and ball at the first chance you can provide. I remain Your Most Humble and Obedient servant.

Lt. John Butler
Commanding Fort Miamis

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