Original Document
Original Document
Richard McGinnis's Account of the Battle of Wyoming on July 3, 1778

At 5 o'clock the Rebels left their strongholds and proceeded up to give us battle. We set fort Wintermoot on fire to decoy the enemy, thinking by this that we fled. But they soon found it a mistake to their sorrow, for we immediately treed ourselves and secured every spot that was any way advantageous to our designs. When the enemy came within sight of us, calling out aloud, "Come out, ye villainous Tories! Come out, if ye dare, and show your heads, if ye durst, to the brave Continental Sons of Liberty!"

But we came out to their confusion indeed – for the Indians on the right under the command of Col. Butler and their King Quirxhta entirely surrounded the enemy, and the white men under the command of Quiskkal . . . On the left drove and defeated the enemy on every quarter. They fled to the river and many of them even there where [were] pursued by the savages and shared the same fate as those on the land.

The prisoners that we took told us there were 450 men in the battle and after we went to the Forty Fort to destroy it, not more than 45 returned. The loss on our side was one Indian killed and two white men wounded. One of the white men, Wilson by name, died of his wound. The other recovered. Thus did loyalty and good order triumph over confusion and treason, the goodness of our cause, aided and assisted by the blessing of Divine Providence, in some measure helped to restore the ancient constitution of the mother country, governed by the best of kings. This I must say: Every man behaved with uncommon bravery. They vied each other for glory to see who should do most in supporting the injured cause of our excellent constitution.

With the defeat of the Rebels followed a total confiscation of all their property, such as oxen, cows, horses, hogs, sheep and every other thing of that kind. Thus did Rebellion get a severe shock. The Rebels begged of us to restore them something back, but "No," we replied. "Remember how you served the peaceable subjects of his Majesty at Tankennick. Remember how you took their property and converted it to Rebel purposes, and their persons fell into your hands, you immediately sent them off to proson into Connecticut and left their numerous families in the utmost distress. And be contented, Rebels, that your lives are still spared and that you have not shared the same fate with your seditious brethren."

This was the argument we made use of to the surviving Rebels of Wyoming. But on the whole, my heart was affected for the women and children, who came after us, crying and beseeching us that we would leave them a few cows, and we told them it was against the orders of Colonell Butler. However, privately we let them have 4 or 5 cows. . .

Written by Richard McGinnis, a carpenter, who fought under the British Colonel John Butler.

Credit: Henry Steele Commager and Richard B. Morris, eds., The Spirit of Seventy-Six: The Story of the American Revolution as Told by Participants (New York: Bonanza Books, 1983), 1007.
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