Henry Bouquet

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File:Bouquet , Colonel Henry:Negotiating Peace with Native.jpg
This print shows Colonel Henry Bouquet, an English officer, negotiating peace with a coalition of Delaware, Seneca and Shawnee tribes during Pontiac's Rebellion in 1764. The negotiations took place along the Muskingum River in the Ohio Country.

Henry Bouquet was born in 1719 in Switzerland. The son of a British officer, Bouquet followed in his father's footsteps, entering the English military in 1736.

In 1756, the English government transferred him to North America to help seize France's possessions and to defend the British colonies during the French and Indian War. Bouquet participated in the capture of Fort Duquesne in western Pennsylvania in 1758.

Bouquet is most famous for the role he played during Pontiac's Rebellion. By the autumn of 1764, Bouquet had become the commander of Fort Pitt (formerly Fort Duquesne). To subdue the Indian uprising, he led a force of nearly 1,500 militiamen and regular soldiers from the fort into the heart of the Ohio Country. On October 13, Bouquet's army reached the Tuscarawas River. Shortly thereafter the Shawnee Indians, the Seneca Indians, and the Delaware Indians informed Bouquet that they were ready for peace. They promised to return all English captives in their possession if the British spared their villages. Bouquet initially rejected the offer but then agreed to consider it. On October 20, he informed the tribes that English citizens demanded vengeance for the natives' actions. He claimed that he would do all in his power to restrain them as long as the Indians returned all captives, including English and French men, women, and children, as well as any African Americans, within twelve days. They must also provide the freed prisoners with ample food, clothing, and horses to make the trek back to Fort Pitt. The natives agreed to all conditions, but fearing that they would renege on the agreement, Bouquet moved his army from the Tuscarawas River to the Muskingum River at modern-day Coshocton. This placed him in the heart of Indian Territory and would allow him to quickly strike the natives' villages if they refused to cooperate.

Over the next several weeks, the Native Americans brought in their captives. Eventually more than two hundred were returned to Bouquet. Several of the freed prisoners welcomed the opportunity to return to their past lives. But many had become so accustomed to native practices that they did everything in their power to escape Bouquet's grasp, including running away on the march back to Fort Pitt. Some even tried to return to the Ohio Country and Indian ways after returning to their white families. Bouquet also required the Shawnees, Delawares, and Senecas to turn over two hostages apiece. The English would detain these men until a formal peace treaty was signed in the spring of 1765 and until the natives returned all of their captives. In return, Bouquet promised not to destroy the Indians' villages or seize any of their land. Bouquet's army left for Fort Pitt on November 18. His campaign became known as Bouquet's Expedition.

Bouquet's remaining military experience also took place in the New World. In 1765, due to his successes the year before, the English government promoted him to brigadier general and placed him in command of all English forces in the southern colonies. He died in 1766, probably from yellow fever.

See Also

References

  1. Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.
  2. Smith, William. Historical Account of Bouquet's Expedition Against the Ohio Indians, in 1764: with preface by Francis Parkman and a translation of Dumas' biographical sketch of General Bouquet. Cincinnati, OH: R. Clarke, 1868.