November 29th: The End of the Battle of Fort Cumberland, Whitman Massacre and Other Events of the Date
A number of important events have taken place on November 29th in U.S. history. Here is our take on the most interesting and valuable of them.
1776 – American Revolutionary War: Northern Coastal Theater: the End of the Battle of Fort Cumberland
The American Revolution wasn’t supposed to stay within the colonies that proclaimed independence from the United Kingdom. Some brave ones also wanted to spread the first Revolution of the era of the Enlightenment to Canada, thus – they crossed the border and attacked the Brits deployed there to bring liberty to Canadians.
This turned out to be bad for Jonathan Eddy, Benoni Danks and around 400 American soldiers under their command, the Canadians themselves didn’t support the secession movement, so they had to rely upon their own power only.
The British forces in Nova Scotia province were well-trained, well-equipped and experienced, so, being in defense of Fort Cumberland, they acted to repulse American attack. Eddy attempted to besiege and storm Fort Cumberland with minimal logistical support from Massachusetts.
The fort's defenders, the Royal Fencible American Regiment led by Joseph Goreham, a veteran of the French and Indian War, successfully repelled several attempts by Eddy's militia to storm the fort, and the siege was ultimately relieved when the RFA plus Royal Marine reinforcements drove off the besiegers on November 29th of 1776. The exact number of casualties suffered by both sides during this battle remains unknown with the most accurate estimate being of “some” killed Americans, and 13 killed and 56 wounded Brits.
1847 – The Whitman Massacre
The mutual relations between White missionaries who tried to convert indigenous people into Christianity and Native Americans have always been tense. Moreover, both sides have for the most part of their history hated each other, so both the White settlers and Native Americans committed massacres so to kill as many “enemies” as possible, no matter who stood before them – children, women, or the elderly.
One such tragedies occurred on November 29, 1847 in Oregon, as Indians attacked local missionaries Marcus Whitman and his wife Narcissa, along with eleven others. They were killed by a party of Cayuse Native Americans who accused Whitman of having poisoned 200 Cayuse in his medical care.
The murder of Whitman and his wife caused the Cayuse War (that lasted for eight years and ended with a decisive U.S. victory), that took place in present-day southeastern Washington state, near the town of Walla Walla, and was pretty much one of the most notorious episodes in the U.S. settlement of the Pacific Northwest.
This incident was also the climax of several years of complex interaction between Whitman, who had helped lead the first wagon train to cross Oregon's Blue Mountains and reach the Columbia River via the Oregon Trail, his wife and fellow missionary Narcissa, and the local Native Americans.
1864 – The Sand Creek Massacre
By a mysterious chronological coincidence another massacre connected with the controversial relations between the U.S. Government and Native Americans occurred exactly 17 years after the Whitman Massacre.
Yet, unlike in the already covered story, this time the U.S. was in charge of a true war crime, as a 675-man force of Colorado U.S. Volunteer Cavalry under the command of U.S. Army Colonel John Chivington raided and destroyed a village of Cheyenne and Arapaho people in southeastern Colorado Territory. This brutal attack led to the death and mutilation of up to 500 Native Americans, more than a half of whom were women and children.
“Damn any man who sympathizes with Indians! ... I have come to kill Indians, and believe it is right and honorable to use any means under God's heaven to kill Indians. ... Kill and scalp all, big and little; nits make lice…” – stated American Colonel John Milton Chivington as he ordered the attack on the Indians, which turned out to be a true act of genocide towards them.
One of the witnesses of this act of genocide, Mr. John Smith, said during Congressional Testimony a year later, in 1865: “I saw the bodies of those lying there cut all to pieces, worse mutilated than any I ever saw before; the women cut all to pieces ... With knives; scalped; their brains knocked out; children two or three months old; all ages lying there, from sucking infants up to warriors ... By whom were they mutilated? By the United States troops ...”.
So, this is how the American government dealt with Native Americans in times of Civil War. There is no doubt that even some African Americans deep in the South would feel like they were in much better conditions than those poor Indians who were claimed as true “enemies of America”.
These are the most notable events in U.S. history that occurred on November 29th, at least in our view.