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except the faithful sentinels retired for a little repose. The morniing of the fatal 15th of August, 1812, arrived. The sun shone with its wonted splendor, and Lake Michigan “was a sheet of burnished gold." Early in the morning Mr. Kinzie received a message from Topeneebe, a friendly chief of the St. Joseph band of Pottawatomies, warning him that his people, notwithstanding their promise of safe conduct, designed mischief. Mr. Kinzie with his eldest son, who had agreed to accompany the garrison, was urged to go with his family, for which a boat had been fitted out to coast around the southerly end of the lake to the St. Joseph.
At 9 a. m. the party quitted the fort amidst martial music and in military array. Capt. Wells, at the head of his band of Miamis, led the van, his face blackened after the manner of the Indians. The troops with loaded arms came next, followed by the wagons containing the women and children, the sick and the lame and the baggage. A little distance in the rear followed the escort of about 500 Pottawatomies. The party took the beach road southward with the lake upon their left. On reaching the range of sand hills separating the beach from the prairie, the Indiaus defiled to the right, bringing these shore elevations between them and the whites down on the beach. They had marched about a mile and half from tbe fort, when Capt. Wells rode furiously back, shouting: “They are about to attack us; form instantly and charge upon them.” The words were scarcely uttered when the savages poured a volley of musketry from behind the hills upon the party. The troops were hastily formed into line and they charged up the bank. One veteran of 70 years fell as they ascended. The action became general. The Miamis fled at the outset; their chief rode up to the Pottawatomies, charged them with treachery, and branishing his tomahawk, declared "he would be the first to head a party to return and punish them." He then turned his horse and galloped after his cowardly companions. The troops behaved gallantly, but were overwhelmed by numbers. The savages flanked them, and "in about 15 minutes got possession of the horses, provisions, and baggage of every description."* Next the murderous work upon the helpless women and children was commenced.
Mrs. Helm, wife of Lieutenant Helm, was in the action, and furnished Mr. Kinzie, her step-father, many thrilling incidents. Dr. Voorhees, who had been wounded at the first tire, was, while in a paroxysm of fear, cut down by her side. Ensign Ronan, a little way off, though mortally wounded, was struggling with a powerful savage, but sank under his tomahawk. A young brave with uplifted tomahawk sought to cleave her skull; she sprang aside and the blow grazed her shoulder; she seized him around the neck and while grappling for his scalping knife, was forcibly borne away by another and plunged into the lake and held down in the water. She soon found, however, that her captor did not design to drown her, and now for the first time recognized, through his disguise of paint and feathers, the friendly chief, Black Partridge. When the firing had somewhat subsided her preserver bore her safely to the shore. A soldier's wife, under the conviction that prisoners taken by Indians were subjected to tortures worse than death, though assured of immunity, fought a party of savages, who attempted to take her, with such desperation that she was *Heald's Report. See J. H. Kinzie's Narative.
litterally cut to pieces and her mangled remains left on the field. “Mrs. Heald, too, fought as a perfect heroine and received several wounds. After she was in the boat, a savage assailed her with his tomahawk, when her life was saved by the interposition of a friendly chief."
The troops having fought gallantly till over half of their number were slain, the remainder, but 27 out of 66, surrendered. And now the most heart-rending and sickening butchery of this calamitous day was committed by a young brutal savage, who assailed one of the baggage wagons containing 12 children, every one of whom fell beneath his murderous tomahawk. When Capt. Wells, who with the others had become a prisoner, beheld this scene at a distance, he exclaimed in a tone loud enough to be heard by the savages around him: “If this be your game, I can kill too!" and turning his horse, started in full gallop for the Pottawatomie camp, located about what is now State street, near the crossing of Lake, where the squaws and pappooses had been left. The Indians pursued, and he avoided the deadly aim of their rifles for a time by laying flat on his horse's neck, but the animal was directly killed and he wounded. He again became a prisoner; Winnemeg and Wabansee, both friends of the whites, interceded to save him, but Peesotum, a Pottawatomie, while he was being supported along, gave him his death blow by a stab in the back. Thus fell Wm. Wayne Wells, a white man of excellent parentage and descent, reared among the Indians, and of as brave and generous a nature as man ever possessed, a sacrifice to his own rash impulse inspired by a deed of most savage ferocity. His remains were terribly multilated ; the heart was cut in pieces and distributed among the tribes, as was their wont, for a token of bravery. Billy Caldwell, a half-breed Wyandot, long well-known in Chicago afterward, arriving next day, gathered up the several portions of the body and buried them in the sand. Wells street, in the present city of Chicago, perpetuates the memory of his name.
The following is copied from the official report of Captain Heald:
"We proceeded about a mile and a half, when it was discovered the Indians were prepared to attack us from behind the bank. I immediately marched the company up to the top of the bank, when the action commenced; after firing one round, recharged, and the Indians gave way in front and joined those on our flanks. In about 15 minutes, they got possession of all our horses, provision and baggage of every description, and finding the Miamis did not assist us, I drew off the few men i had left, and took possession of a small elevation in the open prairie out of shot of the bank or any other cover. The Indians did not follow me, but assembled in a body on the top of the bank, and, after some consultation among themselves, made signs for me to approach them. I advanced towards them alone, and was met by one of the Pottawatomie chiefs, called the Blackbird, with an interpreter. After shaking hands, he requested me to surrender, promising to spare the lives of all the prisoners. On a few moments consideration I concluded it would be the most prudent to comply with his request, although I did not put entire confidence in his promise. After delivering up our arms, we were taken back to their encampment near the fort and distributed among the different tribes. The next morning they set fire to the fort, and left the place, taking the prisoners with them. Their number of warriors was between 400 and 500, mostly of the Pottawatomie nation, and their loss, from the best information I could get, was about 15. Our strength was 54 regulars and 12 militia, out of which 26 regulars, and all the militia, were killed in the action, with two women and 12 children. Ensign George Ronan and Dr. Isaac V. Van Voorhees, of my company, with Captain Wells, of Fort Wayne, are to my great sorrow, numbered among the dead. Lieut. L. T. Helm, with 25 non-commissioned officers and privates, and 11 women and children, were prisoners, when we separated. Mrs. Heald and myself were taken to the mouth of the river St. Joseph, and being both badly wounded, were permitted to reside with Mr. Burnet, an Indian trader. In a few days after our arrival there, the Indians all went off to take Fort Wayne, and in their absence I engaged a Freuchman to take us to Mackinaw, by water, where I gave myself up as a prisoner of war, with one of my sergeants.
In the surrender, Captain Heald had stipulated for the safety of the remnant of his force and the remaining women and children. The wounded prisoners, in the hurry of the moment, were unfortunately omitted, or rather, not particularly mentioned. These helpless sufferers, on reaching the Pottawattoinie camp, were therefore regarded as proper subjects upon whom to wreak their savage and cowardly brutality. A distinguishing trait of civilized humanity is, protection for the helpless; with the savage, these become the objects of vengeance. Mrs. Helm writes: "Án old squaw, infuriated by the loss of friends or excited by the sanguinary scenes around her, seemed possessed of demoniac fury. She seized a stable fork and assaulted one miserable victim, who lay groaning and writhing in the agony of his wounds, aggravated by the scorching beams of the sun. With a delicacy of feeling scarcely to have been expected under such circircumstances, Wanbee-nee-wau stretched a mat across two poles between me and this dreadful scene. I was thus spared, in some degree, a view of its horrors, although I could not entirely close my ears to the cries of the sufferer. The following night five more of the wounded prisoners were tomahawked.99*
When the Indians about the fort first learned of the intended evacuation, they dispatched runners to all the villages of the nation, apprising them of the news and their purpose to overpower the garrison. Eager to share in the act of bloodshed and plunder, many warriors bastened forward, only to be too late.
A band of Potawattomies, from the Wabash, were met at the Aux Plains by a party from Chicago, bearing home a wounded chief. Being informed that the battle had been fought and won, the prisoners slain and scalped, and the spoils divided, their disappointment and rage knew no bounds. They accelerated their march, and reaching Chicago, determined to glut their taste for blood on new victims. They blackened their faces, and without ceremony entered the parlor of Mr. Kinzie and sullenly squatted upon the floor amidst the assembled family, who had been kindly restored to their home on the north side of the river by Black Patridge, Wabansee and others, and who now guarded them. Black Patridge, interpreting their looks and intent correctly, observed to Wabansee in an undertone, that their white friends were lost. But at this moment the whoop of another band of Indians was heard on the opposite shore. Black Patridge hastily advanced and met their chief in the darkness, on the river's bank. "
“Who," said he, “are you ?” “A man,” answered the chief, “who are you ?" "A man, like yourself,” replied Black Patridge; “but tell me, who are you for "I am," said the
*Brown, Hist. Ills., page 316, note 5, says : "Mrs. Heald and Mrs. Helm having eclipsed the most visionary taste of romance, with which inodern literature abounds, lived for many years thereafter, bighly respected."
chief, “ the Sau-ga-nash” (that is, the Englishman). “Then make all speed to the house," was the reply; "your friends are in danger, and you alone can save them.”
It was Billy Caldwell, the half-breed Wyandot, to whom we have referred as burying the remains of Captain Wells. He hurried forward, entered the house with a resolute step, deliberately removed his accoutrements, placed his rifle behind the door and saluted the Potawattomies : "How now, my friends, a good day to you. I was told there were enemies here; but I am glad to find only friends. Why have you blacked your faces ? Are you mourning for friends lost in the battle? (adroitly mistaking the token of their evil intent), or, are you fasting? If so, ask our friend and he will give you food. He is the Indian's friend, and never refused them in their need."
Diverted by the coolness of his manner, they were ashamed to avow their murderous purpose, and simply asked for some cotton goods to wrap their dead, preparatory to burial. This, with other presents, was given them, and they quietly departed. Thus, by his presence of mind, Caldwell averted the murder of the Kinzie family.
The prisoners, with their wives and children, were dispersed among the Potawattomie tribes on the Illinois, Rock river, the Wabash, and some to Milwaukee. The most of them were ransomed at Detroit the following spring. A part of them remained in captivity, however, another year, but were more kindly treated than they expected. Lieutenant Helm was taken to the AuSable, thence to St. Louis, where he was liberated through the intervention of Thomas Forsythe, long the government Indian agent at Peoria..
ILLINOIS IN THE WAR OF 1812.-GOVERNOR EDWARDS
MILITARY CAMPAIGN TO PEORIA LAKE.
Gen. Hopkins with 2000 Mounted Kentucky Riflemen Marches over the
Prairies of Ilinois-His Force Mutinies and Marches back-Capt. Craig Burns Peoria and takes all its Inhabitants Prisoners.-Second Expedition to Peoria Lake-Indian. Murders-Illinois and Missouri send two Expeditions up the Mississippi in 1814-Their Battles and Disasters.
After his ignominious retreat from Canada, Gen. Hull, in a most unaccountable manner, on the 16th of August, the day after the Chicago massacre, at Detroit surrendered his army,all the military stores, and the whole of Michigan, without a struggle, while his men, it is said, wept at the disgrace. Thus by the middle of August the British and their red allies were in possession of the whole north west, with the exception of Forts Wayne and Harrison. This activity and success of the enemy aroused the people of this region to a realization of their imminence. To the impulse of selfpreservation was added the patriotic desire to wipe out the disgrace with which our arms were stained, stay the tide of savage desolation which menaced the frontiers, and retrieve our losses.
The savages grew bolder and penetrated deeper into the settle. ments. Early in September a large force from the Prophet's town made a night attack on Fort Harrison, located a few miles above the present city of Terre Haute, in command of Capt. Zachary Taylor, afterwards president. They ingeniously fired one of the blockhouses, killed during the engagement three men and wounderl several more. By the coolness of the commander and the energy of the garrison, though greatly reduced by sickness, the buildings were mostly saved, and the Indians at daylight repulsed. They, lowever, shot, killed, or drove away, nearly all the hogs, cattle and work oxen belonging to the fort.
Gov. Harrison superseded Gen. Hull, and was also appointed major-general by brevet in the Kentucky militia. This young State, in the course of a few weeks, by the aid of Richard M. Johnson and others, had raised a force of 7,000 men, a portion of which was directed to the aid of Indiana and Illinois, Vincennes being designated as the rendezvous* The British had descended the Mississippi to Rock Island, and were distributing loads of goods as presents to the Indians, through one Girty.
In the meantime Governor Edwards was active in making preparations for an expedition against the Kickapoos and Potawat*Lanman Bio. Sketches.