Tecumseh: Vision of Glory

Tecumseh: Vision of Glory

Tecumseh: Vision of Glory

Tecumseh: Vision of Glory


TECUMSEH headed south in late September 1812, after the first frost had appeared. The pawpaws and chestnuts were ripe, the bison herds were grazing toward the Ohio, and great flocks of wild ducks moved in ordered array across the sky. The blue haze of autumn was softening the plains. Accompanied by thirty warriors mounted on the best ponies procurable in the Northwest, he crossed the River Rouge from Detroit and struck into the deep woods.

Less than two months before, he and the British commander, Major General Isaac Brock, had executed the plan, largely of Tecumseh's creation, that had led to the astounding capture of Detroit.

The capitulation had included the entire American army commanded by Brigadier General William Hull, a force of 2,500 regulars and Ohio and Michigan militiamen, with thirty-three cannon, abundant ammunition and supplies. Now, as the Michigan sumacs crimsoned and the wind from Lake St. Clair carried the bracing crispness of the Canadian fall, he was starting again on the long journey to enlist the southern tribes in the war for Indian independence.

Chief of the Shawnee, builder of the free Indian confederacy, Tecumseh was leader de facto of the nations that from time immemorial had kindled their council fires on the prairies and in the forests of the great Northwest.

Frontier warfare, with its silken sashes and wampum belts, its epaulets and egret plumes, permitted much pageantry and feathers and, with its buffalo-tail trappings and vermilion paint, much that was garish and hideous. Tecumseh, in contrast, wore unadorned buckskin.

Through the belt that gathered his hunting jacket at the waist were thrust his tomahawk and silver-hilted hunting knife. He was a command-

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