Friday, July 24, 2015

Thomas Nelson -- Raising Troops
The American victory at Saratoga was of first importance for it convinced the French that the Revolution in America could be successful.  France officially entered the war against Great Britain in May 1778.
The news of General Burgoyne’s surrender October 17, 1777, was received in Williamsburg with great jubilation.  A battalion was formed and reviewed by Nelson; members of the upper and lower houses of the new Assembly spoke to the congregated citizens.  The Virginia Gazette reported that “joy and satisfaction … was evident in the countenance of every one; and the evening was celebrated with the ringing of bells, illuminations, &c.” (Gazette 1)
About to go into winter quarters at Valley Forge, Washington was, naturally, pleased with Burgoyne’s capture.  But he had failed to keep General Howe from capturing Philadelphia, and he wrote Nelson that he now regretted not accepting Nelson’s offer to send him some of the Virginia militia.  None of the joyous exuberance seen in Williamsburg following the Saratoga victory existed in Washington’s camp.  Washington could only say that the victory in the north would make a winter camp against Philadelphia possible if “our ragged and half naked Soldiers could be clothed” (Fitzpatrick X, 27).
While Washington was facing the prospect of a dismal winter, Nelson was officially thanked by the two houses of the Assembly for the services he had rendered during the British fleet scare.  He was thanked in such glowing phrases as, “actuated by noble principles and generous motives and exemplary diligence and alertness in performing the duty were such as became a virtuous citizen” and officer.  Nelson replied that he hoped he could continue to deserve “the good opinion” and discharge his duty in any office “they may think me worthy of” (Gazette 1).  Nelson would have many opportunities to do just that.  But, for the present, he could only worry about the progress of the war.
The want of men and supplies was a serious handicap for the revolutionaries throughout the war.  In late 1777 the Virginia House of Delegates was considering the passage of a bill that would alter how single men could be drafted into the regular Virginia army.  “Each county was given a quota of men necessary to fill Virginia’s line regiments.  All single men were eligible, and on a specified day they were to report to the courthouse where slips were to be prepared for all the able bodied.  If the quota of the county happened to be thirty, then thirty of the slips would be marked ‘Service’ and the remainder “Clear.’  All would be put into a hat and every man would draw a slip, those getting ‘Service’ slips being obliged for duty. The term of service would be one year.   Substitutes were still allowed, but on a one-to-one basis.  The person obtaining the recruit was exempt from the draft for the period of time, after the discharge, that the man had actually served” (Evans 73).
Simultaneously, Nelson pushed to have included in the bill a plan to raise 5,400 volunteers to serve six months under the command of brigadier generals appointed by the governor.  Nelson used in argument “Washington’s passing comment, after the defeat of Burgoyne, that he wished he had given more serious consideration to Nelson’s earlier offer to join him with militia.   … as late as December 19, Nelson thought the proposal was lost because many delegates feared ‘it would interfere with compleating the Regular battalions.  … by December 26 authorization to raise volunteers had been approved.    No more than fifty-four hundred volunteers could be raised, for six-months duty, they were to remain eligible for the draft until they actually marched to join the Continental army, and they would be exempt from the draft for six months after their discharge” (Evans 73-74).  The entire bill would become law on January 9, 1778.  To encourage enlistments, Nelson was appointed to be one of the two brigadier generals. 
Rather than serve in the next session of the Continental Congress -- which Washington urged that he do -- Nelson remained in Virginia.  “He had developed a near compulsion to lead troops in the field; and he felt certain that a sizable addition of troops would enable the Continental army to quickly defeat Howe, which would, in turn, bring an end to the war.  In his inexperience, he did not comprehend that it was wiser to add men to Washington’s regular forces, where they would serve under seasoned officers and with battle hardened troops, than to bring in a body of untrained soldiers who would be commanded by novices.  The general as much as told his friend this.    Fill up the regular regiments and provide the food to feed them, Washington was urging—then we can talk about separate forces of volunteers.    By the early spring of 1778 the volunteer plan had failed and Nelson was searching for an alternative” (Evans 76). 
On March 2, 1778, the Continental Congress passed a resolution that called for the wealthy men of the states to step forward in the service of their country and raise troops of light cavalry.  Each member of a cavalry group would be expected to provide his own provisions, as well as forage for his horse.  All other expenses would be paid by the person who raised the cavalry.
When news of the Congressional resolution reached Virginia, Nelson published an address calling for young men of fortune to meet with him in Fredericksburg, May 25, to organize themselves into a cavalry unit.  He also desired to have join with him men with less fortune, but with as much patriotism.  Nelson wrote that it was a “pity that they should be deprived of the opportunity of distinguishing themselves!”  To enable them to enter the service, “I propose that such should be furnished with a horse and accoutrements by subscription in their respective counties; and surely those who remain at home, enjoying all the blessings of domestic life, will not hesitate to contribute liberally for such a purpose” (Sanderson 57-58).  In May the Virginia Assembly gave state support to the plan.  It passed a bill authorizing the raising of a regiment of 350 horses to be commanded by Nelson.  Members of the regiment “would receive the same rations and pay as members of the Continental army.  Those who could not furnish their own horses and equipment would be supplied at public expense” (Evans 77).  Nelson received 4,000 pounds to expend for arms and an equal amount to purchase horses.  Many people believed that at best he would receive half of the 350 volunteers desired.
About 70 gentlemen appeared at Fredericksburg, including two of Thomas’s brothers, Hugh and Robert.  In a letter to Washington Nelson vented his frustration.
“So great is the aversion of the Virginians to engaging in the Army that they are not to [be] induc’d by any method.  I cannot say they are in apathy for view them in the mercantile way, and they are as alert as could be wish’ed, or rather more so, almost every Man being engag’d in accumulating Money.  Public Virtue & Patriotism is sold down to South Quay and there shipd off in Tobacco Hogsheads, nevermore, in my opinion, to return.  The number of resignations in the Virginia line is induced by officers, when they have returned, finding that every man, who remains at home is making a fortune, whilst they are spending what they have, in defense of their Country.  If a stop be not put to the destructive trade that is at present carried on here, there will not be a spark of Patriotic fire left in Virginia in a few Months” (Evens 77).
Washington was happy with the prospect of being reinforced.  The last campaign had greatly reduced his cavalry.  As to the disappointing turnout, he wrote this:
“I am sorry to find such a backwardness in Virginia in the Service of the army.  Perhaps it is fortunate for the cause, that our circumstances stand in less need of the great exertions of patriotism than heretofore, from the changes in foreign councils, and the open interposition of the French in our favor.  But I am convinced you have left nothing undone, of encouragement, for the increase of your corps, …” (Fitzpatrick XII, 203).
“Through June and July, with the temperature hovering around one hundred degrees, the general tried to whip his volunteers into shape at Port Royal” (Evans 77).  On the eve of the cavalry’s departure to join Washington, Thomas gathered his men about him and tried to assure them there was some hope for remuneration for expenses incurred in the country’s service.  Then he asked if anyone was in need of money; he would like to have that person consult him in his quarters.  A number of men did, and Nelson supplied them personally.
When Nelson and his cavalry arrived in Philadelphia during the first week of August, they learned that the cavalry was no longer needed.  Howe had retired from the city and had been on his way to New York.  Washington had intercepted him June 28 at Monmouth, New Jersey.  Although Washington had failed to win a decisive victory, the war in the north was finished.  The colonists did not know it, but they felt reasonably secure.  Nelson’s cavalry had arrived in Philadelphia too late to serve a useful purpose.  Nevertheless, the congressmen were appreciative of Nelson’s efforts.  On August 8 they passed a resolution publicly thanking him and his men for their service.  But they advised that the cavalry return to Virginia.  Nelson had lost a good sum of money in this venture.  Yet he made further advances of money to those who required it to enable their return to their homes.
Greatly disappointed, Nelson searched for some way to be of service to Washington.  He offered a favorite horse as a gift.  Washington refused, Nelson persisted, and the commander-in-chief relented.  With great feeling Washington thanked his generous friend.
“In what terms can I sufficiently thank you for your polite attention to me, and agreeable present?  And … with what propriety can I deprive you of a valuable and favourite horse?  … as a proof of my sincere attachment to, and friendship for you, I obey with this assurance, that from none but a Gentn. for whom I have the highest regard, would I do this, notwithstanding the distressed situation I have been in for want of one” (Fitzpartick XII, 341).
Washington was angry at the dismissal of Nelson’s cavalry.  He felt that since the expense of getting the cavalry to Philadelphia had already been incurred, he should have received it.  The assumption that Nelson’s men would save money by disbanding rather than staying on, he felt to be “very erroneous.” He felt keenly disappointed over the resolution, but hoped he would soon see Nelson in camp.
Thomas Nelson returned to Virginia a healthier man.  The physical exercise of raising and delivering his cavalry to Philadelphia seemed to have restored his health.  Consequently, he accepted an appointment as delegate to the Continental Congress and took his seat February 18, 1779.
Nelson’s appointment greatly pleased Washington.  His comments are worth quoting.
“I think there never was a time when cool and dispassionate reasoning; strict attention and application; great integrity, and … wisdom were more to be wished for than the present …  Unanimity in our Councils, disinterestedness in our pursuits, and steady perseverance in our nation duty, are the only means to avoid misfortune” (Fitzpatrick XIV, 246).  Washington believed Nelson embodied those qualities.
“Early in February, the weather turning unseasonably mild, he [Nelson] left home to assume his duties.  Peach trees were beginning to blossom and others to bud, while shrubs were in full bloom.  But the pleasure of an early spring contrasted starkly with the dismal prospect facing the country.  The depleted ranks of the army forced Washington to remain on the defensive.  Neither the necessary men nor supplies were forthcoming from the states.  Inflation continued and Congress, unable to find an alternative, persisted in printing paper money.  The French alliance of early 1778 had given the country hope that the war would end soon, but the events of the year that followed did nothing to encourage this hope.  The best of congresses would have been severely tested, and this one was no more than mediocre.  A general feeling prevailed that the members of Congress were more interested in Philadelphia’s social life than in the pressing business of the country.  Such was the situation into which Nelson stepped” (Evens 79-80).
Sources Cited:
Evans, Emory G.  Thomas Nelson of Yorktown: Revolutionary Virginian.  Charlottesville, Virginia, The University Press of Virginia, 1975.  Print.
Fitzpatrick, John C., ed.  Washington to Nelson, November 8, 1777.  The Writings of George Washington.  Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, 1933, X.  Print.
Fitzpatrick, John C., ed.  Washington to Nelson, July 22, 1778.  The Writings of George Washington.  Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, 1933, XII.  Print.
Fitzpatrick, John C., ed.  Washington to Nelson, August 20, 1778.  The Writings of George Washington.  Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, 1933, XII.  Print.
Fitzpatrick, John C., ed.  Washington to Nelson, March 15, 1779.  The Writings of George Washington.  Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, 1933, XII.  Print.
Sanderson, John.  Biography of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence,
Second Edition.  Philadelphia, William Brown and Charles Peters, 1828). V.  Print.
Virginia Gazette (Dixon and Hunter) October 31, 1777.  Microfiche
Virginia Gazette (Purdie) November 14 and 21, 1777.  Microfiche.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Writing "Alsoomse and Wanchese" -- Boy to Man, Hunting
Every reader of historical fiction wants to believe that the detail a historical novelist includes in his narrative is true to what is known about the people and time about which he writes.  The novelist must do considerable research to warrant such belief.  My “Writing Alsoomse and Wanchese” posts have provided you different aspects of how and where coastal Carolina Algonquians lived in 1584 when they first encountered English explorers.  I will eventually write about my decision-making concerning characters, plot, and specific difficulties that I have encountered, but not yet.  I need to provide additional context.
A man’s role in Algonquian society was that of fisherman, hunter, and protector.  Women grew and harvested the crops, collected the nuts and berries, gathered the shellfish, and prepared all sources of food for every inhabitant’s consumption.  Men provided the necessary fish, fowl, and meat so vital for survival especially during the months when food that women provided was not available.  Because Man is innately war-like, village survival also required that Algonquian men be fearless warriors.  This post will discuss the training of boys to become hunters and warriors and how Algonquian men hunted.
A man’s success was measured by the wealth of the food he provided.  Being an excellent provider required skill, endurance, and courage.  How well a man was regarded in the village depended on his success as a hunter.  Great exploits as a warrior gained him high favor with his weroance (ruler) and often a seat at village council meetings.  It was therefore incumbent that boys’ parents trained their sons early to become skilled hunters.
Boys practiced boy and arrow skills at a young age.  Any boy lagging in the development of accuracy might have his mother deny him breakfast until he was able to hit moss tossed into the air with an arrow.  Games were played that involved shooting accuracy: for instance, shooting competitively arrows through rolling reed hoops.  Boys learned how to construct bows and arrows.  They learned intimate knowledge of local terrain and plant cover that attracted certain animals.  They accompanied their fathers and older relatives on hunting expeditions, learning by observation and by trial and error that which was expected.
Psychological pressure was put on them.  All children were given birth names.  As they matured, they could be given replacement names that reflected a noticeable aspect of their emergent character.  The names reminded everybody in the village of how much or how little they had progressed as good providers, future warriors, and men of worthy character.  Here is a sampling of Algonquian boys’ names.
            Algonquian Name                  English Translation
            Anakausuen                            worker
            Askook                                    snake
            Askuwheteau                          he keeps watch
            Kesegowaase                          swift
            Kitchi                                      brave
            Matunaagd                              fights
            Mekledoodum                        conceited
            Pannoowau                             he lies
            Segenam                                 lazy
Sometime between the ages of 10 and 15 every boy participated in an initiation into manhood.  The Virginia Powhatans called the initiation huskanaw.  The very few Englishmen that commented about Carolina Algonquians rituals in the 1580s made no mention of a coming of age ritual, but it was common among Algonquian tribes elsewhere so we can assume that something quite similar happened in the villages by Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds and the Pamlico and Chowan Rivers.
The ritual was a rigorous test of endurance.  It began with a morning-long dance and feast in which the entire village participated.  Two huge dance circles were formed about a large fire.   People, dressed in their very best, led by their weroance, danced four in a rank, seemingly endlessly, one circle moving clockwise, the other counter-clockwise.  Four principal men of the weroance stood in the middle of the two circles.  They would hit with a bundle of reeds anybody who lagged as he or she danced.  A group of men wearing horns and holding green boughs danced inside the two circles.  Without warning they would suddenly stop, make a hellish noise, throw aside their boughs, run up a small tree while clapping their hands, and tear the tree to the ground.  They would then resume their dancing.  Eventually, the boys who were to be initiated, their faces painted white, were presented.  They were brought into the circles.  People danced around them and sang.
In the afternoon the boys were led to a tree and told to sit next to it.  Men guarded them with reed bundles.  The guards then formed a lane of two lines away from the tree.  Boys who had recently been initiated led the boys, one by one, through the lane.  The guards, pretending to be furious (as if what was happening was an abduction), struck the initiated boys with their bundles.  The neophyte boys were taken to another tree and ordered to sit.  The ritual was repeated.  At least one of the two trees about which the young boys had sat was torn apart by the “enraged” guards.  Female spectators from a distance mourned loudly.  They had beside them items associated with a funeral: dry wood, mats, skins, and moss for preparing the dead.
Next came the boys’ “death” ceremony.  They were taken to a valley or ravine where the weroance was waiting.  A feast lasted 2 or 3 hours.  Men then formed another lane through which the boys had to pass.  The boys were ordered to lie lifelessly about a tree.   The men danced around them for awhile and then sat in a circle around them.  The weroance ordered dry wood to be brought to construct a makeshift steeple that was to be burned.  All of the day’s activities were attempts to frighten the boys and test their courage.
The final part of huskanaw began a day or so later.  The boys were taken into the woods for several months under the supervision of grown men, called “keepers.”  Shut in a cage – a tall lattice-constructed enclosure shaped like a cone -- the boys were given a concoction of ground up, poisonous, intoxicating roots.  The mixture made them crazy.  They drank the concoction for 18 to 20 days.  They were repeatedly beaten.  They were released finally from the cage and for several weeks brought gradually off the drug.  They were brought back to the village in a zombie-like state to show that they remembered nothing of their boyhood existence.  If a boy exhibited any recollection of his past – such as recognizing a parent – he was taken back into the woods to repeat the final ritual.  Usually the boy did not survive.
Hunting of deer was done by stalking and surrounding.  “Deer stalking was done by lone hunters and demanded tremendous skill; it earned a successful hunter considerable prestige.  Stalking was done with a dummy deer, made of a deerskin with the head stuffed and the body slit on one side to admit the hunter’s arm.  The hunter ‘wore’ the skin as he approached a browsing deer, creeping from one tree to another.  If the deer became wary and stared at him, the hunter moved the head in a natural, deerlike way …  [He] would make deerlike movements and allay the suspicions of the deer, which would then allow the hunter to come near enough to shoot” (Rountree 39).
Surrounding, or “fire-hunting” done by the Powhatans of Virginia “required more people and killed more deer.  There were two variants.  In one, a group of men would find a herd of deer and then spread themselves in a circle around it.    They built fires between their stands and began shouting.    Panicked, the game fled the fires, only to find that between the fires were shouting, shooting men.  Soon the deer would be running in a circle … while the men picked them off one by one” (Rountree 40).  John Smith estimated that 6 to 15 deer were killed in a single fire-hunt.  Deer could also be trapped on a peninsula surrounded on three sides by water.  Cutting off a herd’s only means of retreat, a group of hunters needed only to advance and shoot the deer either at the end of the peninsula or in the water from land or canoe.
Large-scale hunting trips were taken in the late fall to places not overhunted.  For the Powhatans, those places were located near the major Virginia rivers’ fall line.  Roanoke Algonquian group hunts probably took place in the swamp lands south and west of Dasemunkapeuc.  Up to 20 to 30 hunters participated.  “While the men hunted by day, women and children carried equipment, set up temporary households at previously arranged places (probably on the way to the site of the following day’s hunt), and processed the carcasses as the men brought them in.  Living conditions in the camps closely approximated those in the towns.  Housing was similar … and so was the cuisine, for the women brought their mortars and supplies of dried corn and acorns and (probably) pots into the wilderness with them” (Rountree 41).
The gear of a Powhatan and, most likely, Carolina Algonquian hunter consisted of a bow, arrows, a quiver, and a wrist guard.  Bows were made of witch hazel.  “English records say nothing of sinew backing or other strengthening devices.  As with other forms of Powhatan woodworking, the wood for a bow was worked by scrapping it with a shell.  Bowstrings were made from deer gut or from twisted thongs of deer hide.    John Smith wrote of arrows made of ‘straight young sprigs’ headed with a bone head two or three inches long, which were used against squirrels and birds.”  He observed that some arrows were in several parts: a reed shaft, a wooden foreshaft, and a head.  Arrowheads were variously made of ‘splinters’ of ‘christall’ or stone, wild turkey spurs, sharp bird bills, splinters of deer bone, ‘an oysters-shell,’ or ‘the ends of Deeres hornes.’”  Stone arrowheads are mentioned in detail only by William Strachey, Secretary of Jamestown in 1609.  He wrote that they were “‘in the forme of a heart’ barbed and jagged.  The majority of points … that have been found archaeologically are small and triangular.  Stone projectile points were ‘made … quickly’ with a small piece of antler that hung from the hunter’s wrist guard, and they were bound onto their shafts or foreshafts with deer sinew and then glued with a waterproof glue made of deer antlers boiled down into jelly.  The overall length of Powhatan arrows was about forty-five inches, and they were fletched with turkey feathers cut to shape with a sharpened reed knife.  The nock of the arrow was grated in, using a hafted beaver tooth” (Rountree 42).
Powhatan bows were strong enough to shoot arrows 40 yards with accuracy and 120 yards at most without accuracy.  Quivers “were tubular containers more than two feet long and made ‘of small rushes.’  Wrist guards … were made of the tanned hides of wolves, raccoons, or foxes” (Rountree 42, 44).
Here is John White’s painting of a Carolina Algonquian hunter.
Work cited:
Rountree, Helen C. The Powhatan Indians of Virginia: Their Traditional Culture.  Norman, Oklahoma, University of Oklahoma Press, 1989.  Print 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Blog Entry Recommendation
I enjoy reading M. K. Tod’s “A Writer of History” blog entries.  Here is a thoughtful entry about what historical fiction readers statistically prefer to read: fiction that features ordinary people, not the famous.  M. K. Tod is the author and blogger who conducted recently a comprehensive survey (which I provided access to and the results of – click “Survey” under “Labels” found in the right margin of my blog page) about historical fiction readers and their preferences.  I invite you to read her entry, “Historical Fiction without the Famous, Part Two,” by clicking

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Book Review
"The Powhatan Indians of Virginia: Their Traditional Culture"
by Helen C. Rountree
If your intention is to write a novel about the settlement of Jamestown, Helen C. Rountree’s The Powhatan Indians of Virginia: Their Traditional Culture would be an essential resource.
If your intention is to write a novel about the Algonquian natives that lived at and near Roanoke Island (North Carolina) in 1583 and 1584, Rountree’s book would be an important resource.  Being that the cultural ways of the Powhatans and the coastal Algonquians of North Carolina are believed to be similar and being that historians are more knowledge about Powhatan culture than about the culture of the coastal Carolinians, reading about the Powhatan culture would be beneficial.
If you are a reader with a special interest in early colonial history and have read about Pocahontas and John Smith, you might appreciate this book’s factual content.  If you are none of the above, you should probably read something else.  This book does not entertain.  It is a slow read the primary purpose of which is to inform. 
The author divides her book into eight subject-matter chapters.  Here is a little bit of what you learn from each of the first seven chapters.
“Subsistence.”  Cutting utensils were sharpened reeds, spurs from wild turkeys, bills from sharp-billed birds, beaver teeth attached to sticks, the sharp edges of mussel shells, and quartz, quartzite, and flint west of the fall line of Virginia’s rivers acquired by trade and honed into cutting tools.
“Towns and Their Inhabitants.”  The right side of a man’s head was shaved to prevent his hair from interfering with his bow string while he hunted.  Women, using the edges of two shells -- like tweezers -- did the shaving.  The left side of a man’s head was grown long, up to 45 inches and was usually combed.  It was oiled into sleekness with hickory oil.  It was done up into a knot and stuck through with ornaments: deer antlers, a dried hand of an enemy warrior, wings of a bird, copper crescents, the skin of a stuffed hawk, long feathers, and shells that tinkled.  The hair at the top of the head was cut into a moderate-sized roach, which on special occasions might be augmented with deer hair dyed red.  Facial hair was rare, Native Americans having light beard growth.  What growth occurred was plucked.
“Manliness.”  Boys were continuously trained and socialized to fulfill the roles of provider and warrior.  They were trained by both parents to become hunters.  Mothers would refuse them breakfast until they passed archery tests.  Moss was thrown into the air for them to hit with arrows.  They were taken on hunting and fishing expeditions at an early age.  Their names were changed periodically to induce them to strive harder to fulfill tribal expectations.  The name given to a boy at birth would be changed to reflect how much or how little he had progressed.  The weroance (ruler) of a village would bestow on him a befitting name if he performed a great exploit.
“Sex Roles and Family Life.”  A man could not acquire a wife until he had proved himself to be a provider.  He sought to attain female interest by providing the subject of his interest gifts of food.  A feast followed her agreement.  He was required to provide bride-wealth – material possessions: mortar and pestle, mats, pots, bedding, beads -- to her parents.  The bride was brought to the groom’s dwelling.  Her father – or father substitute – brought the couple’s hands together.  The groom’s father broke a long string of shell beads over their heads.  They were now married.  A feast followed.
“Social Distinctions.”  Important visitors were accorded lavish hospitality.  Upon their arrival, townspeople prostrated themselves, faces to the ground, fingers clawing the earth.  The villagers then formed two parallel lines.  As the visitors passed between the lines, the villagers, gesturing joyously, sang loud tunes.  The visitors were seated on mats opposite the town weroance.  They were accorded high praise by village orators.  They partook in a great feast.  They were privileged to smoke with the village’s personages.  Townspeople danced to entertain and honor them.  The celebration ended with each visitor being escorted to a sleeping accommodation that included a young woman companion painted red and oiled.
“Law, Politics, and War.”  Weroances had life and death power over their subjects.  Capital crimes were stealing from one’s own people, murder of a fellow Powhatan, infanticide, and being an accessory to these crimes.  The perpetrator was brought to the weroance’s house.  A great fire was built.  The executioner cut off the long hair on the left side of the criminal’s head to signify that he had been deprived of his manhood.  The criminal’s bones were then broken by beating.  While he was still alive, he was thrown into the fire.  Or, instead, he might be clubbed to death and then thrown into the fire. 
“Medicine and Religion.”  Eliminating large accumulations of water in the body involved sweating.  Several methods were used to release the water.  One involved sitting in a sauna-like sweathouse.  An attendant heated three or four stones until they were red-hot.  The rocks were placed on the house’s hearth.  The inner bark of white oak, mashed in a mortar, was placed over the rocks.  People suffering from edema, swellings, aches, fever, and chills were brought into the house and seated.  The attendant exited, closing the door behind him.  Minutes later the attendant returned, threw water on the rocks to create steam, and sprinkled water on the people to forestall fainting.  The people stayed in the house for about 15 minutes, then dashed outside and plunged into the nearby stream.  Afterward, they anointed their bodies with a mixture of bear’s oil and pulverized angelica and puccoon (a medicinal root) to close their pores even more and to keep away flies and lice.
I am very appreciative of the author’s scholarship and contribution.