Chapter 2 Summary

Del Hardy left Fort Pitt in October and now serves with Colonel Bouquet, a peaceful but rather crazy man. The Colonel marched his troops as if they were going to a celebration rather than into a hundred miles of wilderness in hostile Indian territory without a fort or settlement anywhere near.

The soldiers are outnumbered two to one, and each day the Indians lie in wait to kill them. Most of Bouquet’s men do not expect to reach their destination alive as their orders are not to harm any Indian unless they are directly attacked. Half of the soldiers are volunteers who have lost loved ones to Indian attacks and are now seeking revenge. Although they despise that order, the soldiers obey it. 

Bouquet and his men finally reach the Forks of the Muskingum, where many Indian tribes are located. Rather than being intimidated, Bouquet grows bolder and demands that every Indian messenger who visits the army camp must deliver one message to their tribes: there will be no peace until all white prisoners have been returned.

Hardy lived with the Delaware Indians when he was a boy, and he tries to explain that any white prisoners who had been kidnapped were either killed immediately or adopted into an Indian family, often in place of a dead relative. This adoption is a serious thing to the Indians; the white prisoners actually become full-blooded Indians and their tribe will never let them go.

But Hardy is wrong. The Indians hate and fear white men, and their presence so near the Indians is enough for them to give up their “white relations.”

It is an awful sight to see the emotional partings between the Indians and their adopted relatives, but Hardy is amazed at how ungrateful the white prisoners are, refusing to have anything to do with the white soldiers who are risking their lives to rescue them. The “wildest and most rebellious” of them all is True Son; he has to be tied up so he will not escape. The boy is wearing a calico hunting shirt and Indian leggings, although he is obviously white. The boy grows wild as he approaches the white camp. The Indians all suffer too as they leave their loved ones forever, but they remain stoic.

That night, Hardy discovers True Son trying to tear at the knots that bind him with his teeth. The guard tries to reason with the boy, reminding him that he had a white mother and father before he had Quaquenga and Cuyloga, but the boy maintains his disdain for all white men and their filthy ways. In the morning, Hardy tries to persuade True Son to eat so he will be strong enough for the trip back to Pennsylvania. True Son vows that he is not leaving but will say nothing more.