Posted by Mike Slease on September 20, 2000 at 05:35:35:
In Reply to: The Journal of Lt. Col. John Armstrong: The March on the Delaware Indian Village of Kittanning posted by Mike Slease on September 17, 2000 at 05:13:18:
The Journal of Lt. Col. John Armstrong
The March on the Delaware Indian Village of Kittanning
August ye 31st to September ye 10th, 2000
The Kittanning Expedition 2000--Part 2
Lt. Col. John Armstrong
September ye 2nd
Arose later than usual since we were up late last night awaiting Pvt. Fine's return from the hospital, and it had been a grueling day yesterday. We left Standing Stone at 10:00AM. The day is slightly cooler and less humid, however, it is still quite uncomfortable. My woolen weskit is so soaked through with perspiration that it could be wrung out.
Leaving Standing Stone by way of the Warrior's Trail, we had to pass two state correctional institutions. In order to create as little stir as possible, we transported the firelocks in the support vehicle past the prisons. It would not be wise to make any Tower Guards nervous! Their guns are loaded...! After passing the prisons and leaving Commonwealth property, we took a much-needed water break and were visited by a prison patrol and a state police officer. Both were there out of curiosity rather than an official visit. As a matter of courtesy, all State Police, Regional, Municipal, or Township police jurisdictions, as well as the prisons, had been notified in advance of our passing through their territories. This was done so that a call from a concerned citizen regarding a bunch of scruffy-looking armed men in the neighborhood would not unduly set them on alert! Sam Miller, of Alexandria, our next camping spot, arrived with a large cooler of water. After refreshing with it, we "confiscated" it for to use for the remainder of our trek. The local Boy Scouts had loaned it, and not being needed for the duration of our journey by the Scouts, Sam readily allowed it to accompany us. It was a Godsend, although we had plenty of water, it was now easier to dispense it.
We continued along the Warrior Path to Pulpit Rocks, an absolutely stunning place of gigantic rocks standing upright 100 feet and more. It was a sacred place for the early Indians in this area. We took another much needed break here, as the temperature and humidity had, once again, become oppressive.
After resting for half an hour or so we continued toward Alexandria. Water and rest stops were made every 1 1/2 to 2 miles, depending on terrain, because it was uphill most of the way. The support vehicle became a valuable and welcome sight to the men when it came into sight at the top of another hill or around another curve. All were soaked through with sweat. It seemed the water ran out as soon as it was drunk in! The sun was out full, there were few clouds, no breeze at all, and the humidity was still high.
A cheer arose as a road sign announcing that Alexandria was 2 miles ahead was passed. Arriving, at 3:00 PM, at the campsite in the yard of the Alexandria Library and Museum, the men collapsed on the cool grass, and finally some shade under gigantic oak trees, and rested.
The camp was erected later on, and we awaited visitors from the town. Many came by to see us and to inquire about our purpose. Pvt. Kirwin entertained by playing his fiddle and singing some 18th century songs. We drilled some of the troops and fired some rounds. This brought more people. Among them was a young family, Dave and Chris Gildea and their children Maddy, Nick, and Sam. They were quite interested and spent a lot of time in camp.
Pvt. Polewchak was preparing venison stew on our campfire, and we visited while we ate. It turned out to be quite a delicious meal, and a big hit with the men. The private became our official Camp Cook after that. It turns out that he is a retired Firefighter from Cleveland and was the cook in the firehouse, so cooking for a group was not much of a challenge for him. The Pennsylvania Game Commission had given Chief Scout Savage two crop-damage-killed deer for the trek, and he had them butchered and frozen for us. The butcher had made jerky, steaks, roasts, tenderloin, and ground venison, and it all was fantastic! At about dark, the Gildea family returned to camp with a warm, fresh-baked raspberry pie for us. It seems that it was the children's idea, and was welcomed quite appropriately by the men. The kindness of the Gildeas was to be remembered throughout the trek as a highlight for us.
There was a terrific display of lightening after dark, and we were concerned we might be in for a rough night, however, all we received was some hard rain. The main part of the storm skirted us, and we were thankful for that.
We turned in early this night, as it had been a physically draining day, and were facing 17 miles tomorrow.
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