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Narrative of the Suffering and Defeat of the North-Western Army

William Atherton

Book Overview: 

This journal dating from 1812 is a strikingly profound contrast with our modern materialism and comfort. It is personal and at the same time very formal and reserved. As a foot soldier traipsing about the wild countryside of the Midwest, hardly after the Louisiana Purchase, against British/Canadian/Native mercenaries, the story is one of looking through the wrong end of a telescope, as one not understanding the forces/motivations at play with the writer's life and his terrible hardships; as in a nightmare where a country sends its young sons to battle hardened, prepared, ruthless adults and then abandons them to their own devices when success does not immediately ensue and the true costs of the struggle and what they should have done, gradually begins to dawn on them, too late of course. In the absence of any kind of numbers and field organization it is difficult to understand all that might be going on.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .er or a murmur in all the camp—which manifested a patriotism worthy the cause in which they were engaged. On the 22d of December we were informed, by general order, that we should have flour that day, and that the prospect was fair for a constant supply.

The 24th was the period set for our stay at camp No. 3, which was pleasing intelligence to the whole army. On the 25th, at sunrise, we were commanded to march to the Rapids. Being the vanguard of the North-Western Army, General Harrison instructed us to make a stand there until we should be joined by the North-Western Army. For some time previous we had been engaged in making sleds to haul our baggage, some of which had to be drawn by the soldiers themselves.

A more pleasant and expeditious march than this had been anticipated, for after much fatigue and labor, a great number of canoes had been made, with which we expected our baggage would be taken with great ease and safety down the river; but to o. . . Read More