Chainbreakers War

CHAINBREAKER'S WAR

A Seneca Chief Remembers the American Revolution

An Authentic Narrative edited by Jeanne Winston Adler


I killed-how many I could not tell, for I paid no attention nor kept an account of it. It was a great many. ? I have thought of it often since, that it was very sinful in the sight of God. Oh, I do think so! ? But again, I have thought that it was done in honor to protect our own country where all the Indian nations were built forever.----
Chainbreaker (Governor Blacksnake)

This authentic narrative of a Seneca war chief recounting his experiences during the American Revolution has been edited for readability, freeing at last the clear, strong voice of the Seneca leader known to American colonists as Governor Blacksnake, who, together with the Mohawk chieftain Joseph Brant and other leaders of the powerful Iroquois Confederation scourged the New York and Pennsylvania frontiers from 1777 to 1783.

Chainbreaker's story begins shortly after the first shots fired in the American War for Independence. He was present at summit meetings in Pittsburgh and Albany when American delegations tried to convince the Iroquois to stay neutral, and he was there at Niagara when British officers successfully swayed Iroquois opinion with a display of wealth and force, veiled threats, and gifts of guns and scalping knives, leading to an alliance with Britain that was to have tragic consequences for thousands of colonists and the entire Iroquois nation.

Chainbreaker's war path led him to some of the fiercest battles and most devastating raids of the Revolution, beginning with the desperate hand-to-hand battle at Oriskany where "blood was shed in a stream running down the descending ground", and ending with valiant but vain attempts to stop Continental armies from destroying Iroquois settlements. At the close of the war, Chainbreaker met former adversary George Washington for treaty negotiations and became an emissary for peace to still-hostile western Indian nations.

A very readable, fascinating presentation. (Gordon R. Willey, Bowditch Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University)

What is most rare, it delivers eighteenth-century American history from a Native American perspective. (G. Peter Jemison, Site Manager of Ganondagan)

ISBN: 1-883789-33-8
6" x 9", 224 pages, photographs, illustrations, maps, index,
$16.95 paper

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Copyright 2002, Black Dome Press, Inc