The Revolt of Pontiac and the American Invasion

Native Nations Resist British Control

Beating the Amerindians at Their Own Game

The battle of Bushy Run, Pennsylvania, 5 August 1763

Caption: The battle of Bushy Run, Pennsylvania, 5 August 1763

In July 1763 the contingent of Colonel Henry Bouquet, a Swiss officer in the British service, went as quickly as possible to the Ohio Valley. Bouquet's small army of 600 men, consisting of the 42nd Scots Regiment, part of the 60th and the American Rangers, went towards Fort Pitt. On August 5, at Bushy Run (Pennsylvania), the Amerindians opened fire on the rearguard. The troop was surrounded fairly quickly, and Amerindian war cries came from all sides. But Bouquet was an admirer of the Amerindian tactics that had been used in the past against Braddock so successfully by the Canadians. The cunning tactician arranged his men in a circle and let the Amerindians attack the following day. After a while, he feigned defeat, ordering some of his soldiers to retreat. Believing themselves victorious and hoping to take some scalps, the Amerindians then charged into the breach, rushing headlong into the trap. Their flanks were immediately fired upon by soldiers waiting in ambush for them. They then charged the Amerindians with their bayonets, routing Pontiac's warriors. This disaster was the turning point of the campaign, Bouquet succeeding in beating the Amerindians at their own game. By combining their tactics with the discipline and fire-power of his troops, he showed that British soldiers could keep the Amerindians at bay, as had their predecessors, the French.

Following this defeat, the Amerindians raised their sieges of Fort Ligonier, Fort Pitt and Fort Detroit. In the spring of 1764 Bouquet's army, reinforced by hundreds of volunteers from Virginia and Pennsylvania, moved to the very heart of Amerindian territory without encountering much resistance.

Additional Images

The Amerindians return captured children to Colonel Bouquet at the end of battle