Imágenes de páginas

number of the whites. While the army lay at the village, a reconnoitering party was sent out to search for Jost horses, and returning in the night, they discovered a large Indian force stealing away in the dark, evidently to avoid the whites, and to join their comrades, a large body of whom it was inferred was in the vicinity. The trail of the Indians led north, while the homeward route of the volunteers now about to return led south, and it therefore became necessary to determine whether to continue the pursuit or return home. Col. Taylor and Major Harney, of the regular army, and Gov. Reynolds urged them to remain in the service till the Indians could be overtaken and chastised. The volunteers, however, expressed great reluctance to a continuance of the pursuit. The private soldiers also were not only displeased with the commanding general, but they had left their business in such condition as to require their presence at home. Gen. Whiteside, upon whom the principal command devolved in the absence of Gen Atkinson, although opposed to following the enemy, agreed to be governed by a majority of the officers, and the question being submitted to a vote, one-half were for pursuing the Indians and the other half for returning home. Gov. Reynolds seeing the demoralizing condition, caused them to be marched to Ottawa, and on the 27th and 28th of May'they were discharged and the campaign thus ended without effecting any important results.



Requisition for Additional Troops-Attack on Apple Creek Fort

Captain Stephens' Encounter with the Indians-Organization of the New Levies--Battle of Kellog's Grove-Battle of the Wisconsin.

Gen. Atkinson called upon the governor at the time these troops were mustered out, and at his suggestion a call was made for 1000 additional men to co-operate with the previous requisition and 1000 more to guard the frontiers. The danger of exposed settlements being very imminent, an appeal was made to the disbanded troops, and a regiment raised to serve till the new levies could be made available. After the election of Jacob Fry as colonel and James D. Henry as lieutenant colonel, the different companies of which it was composed were immediately dispatched to the most exposed localities. The regiment, after bravely guarding the imperiled frontier, was finally mustered out of service at Dixon, on the 19th of Juné by Col. Taylor. One of the companies under Captain Snyder, had some severe skirmishing with a body of some seventy Indians in the vicinity of Kellog's grove, in which 4 of the savages and 2 or 3 of his own men were killed. The new levies arrived, but before they could be organized or brought into the field, the Indians committed a number of murders in different parts of the country.

On the 6th of June Black Hawk and about 150 warriors made an attack on Apple River Fort, situated a quarter of a mile north of the present village of Elizabeth and within 12 miles of Galena. The fort was a stockade having strong block houses at the corners, and had been erected for the benefit of a small village of miners, who resided in their homes during the day and retired to the fort for protection at night. Three messengers chanced to be on their way from Galena to Dixon, and when within half a mile of the village, were fired upon by Indians lurking in ambush. One of them was wounded, but by the assistance of his two companions he reached the fort without further injury. The inhabitants, as usual during the day, were scattered abroad attending to business, when the report of guns apprised them of danger and they fled to the fort in advance of the enemy. The Indians came within firing distance, when the battle commenced and was continued with great fury for 15 hours, during which several attempts were made to burn aud storm the fortifications. The assailants took possession of the dwellings in the village, and while some knocked holes in the

walls through which in safety they fired upon the fort, others destroyed provisions, broke crockery, and with devilish glee ripped open beds and bestrewed the houses and yards with feathers. There were only 25 men in the fort, but they fought with the impetuosity of desperation, deeming it better if they could not repulse their adversaries to die in defence of their families, than suffer capitulation and butchery afterward. The mothers and children partook of the same inspiration, and by moulding bullets and charging guns greatly assisted in warding off the assaults of the enemy. The Indians at length, finding they could not prevail against the garrison, raised the seige and departed, taking with them horses, cattle, flour and other provisions. The Americans sustained a loss of one man, that of the Indians could never be ascertained as their killed and wounded were carried away in the retreat. A messenger in the meantime had hurried to Galena for assistance, and Col. Strode of the militia marched to afford them assistance, but the enemy had left before he arrived.

On the 24th of June two men were killed near Fort Hamilton, situated among the lead mines 4 or 5 miles east of Galena. Gen. Dodge, of Wisconsin, who by chance visited the fort shortly after the tragedy was committed, immediately followed the trail of the savages to the Pekatonica, where they took refuge under a high bank of the river. The brave commander and his equally brave men immediately rushed on the sheltered foe and killed the entire number, having three of their own men mortally wounded in the assault. This action although small, exhibited the greatest daring on the part of those engaged in it.

About the same time Capt. Stephenson of Galena, and a portion of his company fell in with a party of Indians between Apple River Fort and Kellog's Grove, and pursued them till they took refuge in a small grove in the midst of the prairie. The Americans commenced a random fire into the timber but after the loss of a few men retired. Notwithstanding this loss neither officers nor men were yet willing to abandon the contest, and the party in a short time returned and charged into the grove, receiving the galling fire of the savages, who were so effectually protected by the trees it was impossible to dislodge them. The charge was renewed a second and a third time, and not until 3 additional men were killed and the captain supposed to be mortally wounded did the fighting cease. The Indians had greatly the advantage, and

, the rashness of making an attack under the circumstances is perhaps as much an object of censure as the heroic deeds performed are feats of admiration.

As previously arranged in the call for troops, the new levies met at Beardstown and Hennepin, but were afterward ordered to Fort Wilburn where a permanent organization was effected.* A promiscuous multitude of several thousand persons had assembled at this place, and the greatest patience and judgment was required to form them into an army. As many of the most prominent men in the State were present and wanted positions, there was great danger in the bestowal of offices that dissatisfaction might arise and thus seriously impair the efficiency of the army. It was

This was a smai fortification on the south bank of the Illinois, about a mile above Peru, and had been erected by Lieut. Wilburn, for the protection of the supplies entrusted to his care by Col. March.

however agreed in a consultation between the governor and captains of the various companies who had already been chosen, that the principal officers should be elected by the troops over whom they were to act. Three brigades were organized, and on the 16th of June Alexander Posey was elected general of the first, Milton K. Alexander general of the second, and on the 18th, James D. Henry general of the third. Gen. Atkinson received them into the service of the United States and acted as commander-in-chief of the force thus organized, which amounted to 3192 men. The governor appointed on his staff Benjamin F. Hickman and Alex. F. Grant as aids, James Turney. as adjutant general, E. C. March as quartermaster general. Besides the main army 4 battalions were organized for special purposes, and commanded severally by Majors Bogart and Baily, and Colonels Buckinaster and Dement.

In view of the disasters which threatened the northern frontier of the State, the governor ordered a chain of forts to be erected and garrisoned from the Mississippi to Chicago. Indian war parties lurked in every defile, beset every solitary road, hovered about every settlement, and woe to the traveler or unprotected party of white men who attempted to pass through the country. Despite their vigilance their supremacy in the field was soon to end, beaten, humbled and bleeding they were to be driven before the conquerers, and their hunting grounds were to know them no more.

On the 17th of June, Col. Dement and his force were ordered to report themselves to Col. Taylor at Dixoil, while the main army was to follow. Here Col. Dement was ordered to take a position in Kellog's Grove, where on the 25th of June he was visited by Mr. Funk of McLean county, who came during the night from the lead mines and informed him that the trail of about 300 Indians lead. ing southward, had been seen the previous day, and that thero was perhaps a large body of them in the neighborhood. A coun. cil of war was held the same night, which decided that ColDement and 50 picked men should reconnoitre the surrounding country the next day, while the remainder were to remain in the fort near the grove prepared for any emergency that might happen. This rude block house was an oblong building constructed of logs, contained 3 rooms, and was furnished with doors of strong material. At daylight on the following morning the party sallied forth, but the more advanced portion of it had not proceeded inore than 300 yards, when several Indian spies were discovered on the adjacent prairies. Col. Dement and Lieut. Gov. Zadock Casey were mounting their horses preparatory to leaving the fort, when a messenger returned to make known the discovery. The news was soon communicated to the whole battalion ; a phrenzy to fight the redskins took possession of the men, and contrary to orders they mounted their horses and started after them. At their approach the Indians fled, but Col. Dement suspecting that their intent was to decoy the whites into an ambuscade, galloped after them to induce them to return and thus prevent the occurrence of such a catastrophe. The excited volun. teers, however, mistook his intentions, supposing he also was pursuing the Indians to kill them, and the chase was continned till they came near a bushy ravine in which Black Hawk and his men were concealed. The object contemplated by the hidden foe was now consuminated, and no generalship of civilized warfare could have been better planned or more successfully executed than this strategy of the bookless men of the forest. Suddenly a war-whoop proceed. ing from the throats of 300 naked savages, who had previously prepared for battle by divesting themselves of their clothes, star. tled the Americans. Determined to profit by the surprise and the advantage of numerical strength, they rushed with the fury of demons upon their adversaries. Col. Dement and several other officers made several attempts to rally their panic-stricken men, but the danger of being out-flanked by superior numbers rendered their efforts futile. All subordination ceased, and each fugitive, prompted by the instinct of self preservation, shaped his course toward the fort with a speed equal to that with which a short time before he had left it. In the hurried and confused retreat which followed, 5 Americans who were without horses were killed, while the remainder reached the fort and dismounting entered it, closely pursued by the enemy. The fort was vigorously attacked for near. Īy an hour, but the force within returned the fire of the assailants with such rapidity and precision that they retired, leaving nine of their comrades dead on the field, and carrying others away with them. No one in the fort was killed but several were wounded by bullets which occasionally entered through crevices in the walls. Three balls passed through the apparel of Col. Dement, all of them touching his person, but none causing a wound. About 50 horses were killed, and suddenly swelling afterward it was supposed they had been pierced with poisoned arrows.

With the retreat of the Indians, sentinels were sent out to watch their movements, and work was commenced on the fort to get it in readiness for a night attack. The heavy timber of which it was built would withstand the effect of bullets better than that of fire, and lest an attempt should be made to burn it, barrels of water were provided, and a large number of wet blankets were hung on the walls.

At 8 o'clock in the morning when the battle had partially subsided, Col. Dement sent five messengers to Dixon, a distance of 50 miles, for assistance, and toward sundown Gen. Posey and his brigade made their appearance. Shortly after his arrival some Indian spies were seen to emerge from the adjacent thicket, where they had been watchiug to see if any additional troops came to the relief of the fort. Retiring to the main body of the enemy, a consulation was held, and doubtless further attempts upon the fort were abandoned, in consequence of the timely arrival of Gen. Posey.

Early the next morning an excavation was made with knives and tomahawks near the grove, and in this lonely grave were buried the mutilated remains of the five Americans killed the preceding day. When the melancholy task was ended Gen. Posey started after the Indians, but soon discovering by the trail that they had scattered, the pursuit was discontinued. Thus terminated this expedition. Nature had endowed in the highest degree with soldiery qualities those engaged in it, and the only reason their efforts were not more successful was the want of discipline, a disideratum which the immediate demand for their services had not permitted them to acquire.

« AnteriorContinuar »