After some time the ruse was detected, but both scouts succeeded in fighting their way out and avoided pursuit.11 The matter of Indian costume addresses issues of both tactics and appearance as regarded scouts generally, and Lewis Wetzel particularly.
When the aged George Roush, who served under Captain Samuel Brady at Pittsburgh from 1777-80, made application for a military pension in 1855, he described the following dress requirements: Descriptions of Lewis Wetzel's appearance are similar to other accounts of contemporary white and Indian scouts.
Christian Cackler recalled, "Lewis Wetzel was a man about six feet and well porportioned rather raw boned & active dark and swarthy.
I have seen Indians since I thought was about as white as he was."14 Lewis Bonnett remembered him as possessing very muscular arms and shoulders with well-proportioned legs and smallish feet, braided hair carefully knotted around his shoulders which reached nearly to his calves when combed out, extremely piercing black eyes, swarthy complexion much pitted by smallpox, and pierced ears from which he wore silk tassels and other ornaments.15 Wetzel's legendary athletic prowess was attested by Caleb Wells.
Military involvement in Vietnam reacquainted the American public with guerrilla or partisan styles of warfare. made it impolitic to oppose such action." This author concluded, "The White man's pathological hatred of the Indian would not allow him to distinguish friendlies from enemies."1 Certainly this interpretation is in agreement with that of James Buchanan, Esq., who in 1824 was His Majesty's Consul for the State of New York, and defended the British use of Indian allies during the War of 1812.
It was after arriving safely at Fort Henry, Wheeling, that Lewis supposedly made his public vow to make Indian hunting his vocation.4 Several members of the Wetzel family were the victims of an ambush in 1786 when they were attacked while in a canoe.
When attacking an Indian camp with Wetzel, Wells began chasing an Indian only to be outrun by Lewis.
By the time Wells reached the stricken Indian, Wetzel had tomahawked and scalped him.
Lewis refused surrender demands and managed to get the canoe out of rifle range, but not before his father John Wetzel, Sr. His brother Martin suffered a flesh wound in the shoulder which did not prove serious. Allman, Lewis Wetzel's most devoted and recent biographer, contends that from this date, as concerned their forays against the Indians, "he and his brothers now hunted for sport and vengeance."5 Judgment of Wetzel by his contemporaries is revealing.
General Josiah Harmer was outraged when in 1791 Wetzel shot and seriously wounded QueŸshaw-say, a Delaware chief and peace emissary to Fort Harmer, Marietta, Ohio.
Lewis had sufficient presence of mind and dexterity to retrieve the powder horn and shot pouch before fleeing the camp.