Stomping at the ground then rearing back and twisting in the air, the horse heaved then lunged. She panicked at the chaos bounding through the woods about them, the whooping yells, the desperate cries, the exploding muskets. The Indians were everywhere. Then her rider, faithfully guiding his men to safety, suddenly fell from the sky, lifeless to the ground. These were the final moments of the soldier who drew this winter's image of Fort Washington.
Captain Johnathan Heart
Jonathan Heart was a talented artist. He liked to draw and created many images throughout his Military career including several sketches of Fort Franklin, layouts of Forts Pitt, Harmar and Washington, a location map of Fort Finney, a plan of the old fort at Venango, maps of the Muskingum Valley for the Ohio Company and the land south of Lake Erie fed by the Cuyahoga River.
As a young man, In 1768, Jonathan graduated from Yale college with honors. By the time of the Revolutionary war he had built up a small business of his own and when the war broke out, he walked away from it and enlisted in the militia as a private. He fought courageously at Bunker Hill and the Siege of Boston. He was promoted to ensign and then to Lieutenant in 1777. He married Abigail Riley that same year. Toward the close of the war, in 1782, he served as Captain Heart under General Washington in New York and his wife gave birth to their only child, Alces Everlin. All of this done with little or no pay. It was about an idea.
After the war, while learning to be a surveyor because he was unable to revive the business he left, Jonathan accepted a captain's commission from congress and joined the First American Regiment. He spent months in Connecticut going from town to town, visiting cabins, churches, town halls and taverns trying to convince others why they should serve their country with him on the western frontier. In 1785 with his regiment assembled, he headed west.
Captain Heart and his men helped build Fort Harmar, at what is now Marietta, Ohio. While there he sketched the Campus Martius, an impressive fortification built by early Marietta settlers to protect themselves from Indian attack. H also sketched a plan of the ancient flat-topped pyramids and enclosures along the Muskingum River. Completely fascinated, he spent many hours at the formations, sometimes late in the evening, alone, pondering the culture and the people that made the works. Other times he gathered there with friends to venture other possibilities. His investigations and writings make him one of the country's first military archaeologists. Later, as commander of the the Fort he established the first Masonic Lodge in the North-Western Territory. Like George Washington he was a Freemason, too.
Captain Heart and his men marched 150 miles above Pittsburg in 1787 and built Fort Franklin on French Creek. The captain scouted the location and designed the defensive work himself. The fortress was fundamental in further securing the territory and allowing others to enter and settle.
In 1789 he floated down the Ohio river with Major John Daughty and helped build Fort Washington. They started in the hot summer stillness of June and finished as winter swept into December. It was probably during that first winter when he created the image of the fort above. The drawing is finely detailed apart from the gauzy contrasts which gives the work an illuminating glow. His time at the pencil that day was a devotion.
In 1791 he was promoted to Major and in the fall of that year, he left Fort Washington under the command of General St. Clair on a fort building expedition. The army constructed Fort Hamilton, at what is now Hamilton, Ohio, then Fort St. Clair and Fort Jefferson (located just south of Greenville) then they began moving north to build one last garrison. While camped on the Wabash River they were attacked by a powerful Indian force. The three hour battle, which began at dawn on November 4th, is known as St. Clair's Defeat. Nearly a 1,000 soldiers and citizens were killed. The Indians only lost a few dozen.
Major Heart was slain while guiding men back from an ordered retreat - by a musket ball, shot through his head and off his horse, lifeless to the field he fell.
The biographical information of Captain Heart was taken from :
Journal of Captain Heart, by Consul Willshire Butterfield, Joel Munsell's Son's, 82 State Street, Albany, New York, 1885;
Fort Washington at Cincinnati, Ohio by Robert Ralston Jones, The Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Ohio, 1902;
History of Berlin, Connecticut by Cathrine M. North, The Tuttle Morehouse and Taylor Company, New Haven, copyright, 1916;
Captain Heart's Letters
October 18th, 1787 French Creek report to the War Department of "immediate consequence" including a warning of warriors singing the war song and threats of "taking up the hatchet."
October 29th, 1787 - The captain is with the Munsee Indians. "They do not intend to join in a war ."
Captain Heart's Journal
Captain Jonathan Heart, U.S.A., kept a journal during his regiment's march from Connecticut to Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh), between September 7th and October 12th, 1785. The entries are filled with fascinating accounts including trials at the Drum Head and soldiers sentenced to run the gantlet! View here.
Here's an old plan of Fort Washington. It's not dated, but it could have been made when the fort was still in operation.
There's actually two here for viewing - the original and the adjusted original. When the plan of the fort was made it was oriented correctly on the paper with north at the top but when the text and buildings were added, later, it appears the sketch was inadvertently turned upside down. This means when you're looking at the original plan the top of the fort is actually facing south.
To fix this I removed the title description on top, the descriptions on the side and the two buildings outside the fort then turned the entire image, including the compass symbol, 180 degrees. Then I reinserted the text and buildings. (The numbers on the fort that correspond to the side descriptions are still upside down but easily readable.) By turning the image I believe I'm showing the exact position of the fort's northern orientation as intended by the plan's creator.