Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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CRAWFORD, William, soldier, born in Berkeley County, Virginia, in 1732; died in Wyandot County, Ohio, 11 June 1782. He was a surveyor, and the associate of Washington, under whom he served. At the beginning of the French and Indian war he became an ensign in the Virginia rifleman, and was with General Braddock in the expedition against Fort Duquesne. He continued in the service until 1761, having been promoted to the grade of captain on the recommendation of Washington. He again served during the Pontiac war from 1763 till 1764, and in 1767 settled in western Pennsylvania, where he purchased land and became a justice of the peace. Soon after the beginning of the Revolutionary war he raised a company of Virginians and joined Washington's army. In 1776 he was made lieutenant colonel of the 5th Virginia regiment, and later became colonel, resigning from the army in 1781.
He was at the battle of Long Island, in the subsequent retreat across New Jersey and over the Delaware, participated in the battles of Trenton and Princeton, and afterward was engaged around Philadelphia. In 1778 he was assigned to frontier duty, and during the following years was occupied in suppressing the Indian attacks on the settlers. After his resignation he retired to his farm, in the hope of spending the remainder of his days with his family, having already given nearly twenty-five years of his life to the service of his country; but in May 1782, at the urgent request of Generals Washington and William Irvine, he accepted, though with great reluctance, the command of an expedition against the Wyandot and Delaware Indians on the banks of the Muskingum. The Indians were discovered on 4 June and an engagement ensued, in which Crawford's troops were surrounded in a grove called Battle Island by a force much larger than his own. For two days the fight was continued, when, finding themselves hemmed in, they decided to cut their way out. In the retreat that followed, the soldiers were separated, and Colonel Crawford fell into the hands of the Indians. After several days of cruel experience, during which he was subjected to horrible torture, he was burned to death. The story is told by N. N. Hill, Jr., in the "Magazine of Western History" for May 1885, under the title of "Crawford's Campaign."
Editor's Note: "As I was reading your
page on Crawford, you wrote: "he accepted, though with great reluctance, the
command of an expedition against the Wyandot and Delaware Indians on the banks
of the Muskingum." In fact, they were travelling to the banks of the Sandusky
River, the Indian town at Upper Sandusky, where Battle Island is located. Just
thought I would pass that info on. Thanks" Ms.
Kris Lininger, Curator -Wyandot County
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