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650

BATTLE OF THE OUISCONSIN.

[Book V

to which he had retreated, he should not only receive additional forces hy which he could withstand all the Americans could bring against him, bu also provisions in abundance. He found too late that he had been deceived in both particulars; he was obliged to fly from Alkinson's army, without provisions, nor had he time to procure any upon the way. Dodge was imniediately upon his trail, but did not overtake him until near a hundred miles pursuit.

On the 21 of July, General Dodge, with about 900 men besides Indians came up with Black-hawk on the Ouisconsin, 40 miles from Fort Winnebago, over against the old Sac village, and it was only by the superior management of the old warrior chief, that himself or any of bis people escaped capture. A great number of Indians belonged to Dodge's army, who contributed much to the successful result of the affair. The whites came upon the Indians as they were about to cross the river, and the time being evening, may account for their pot being all cut off; for immediately after the attack began, it was so dark that the whites could not continue it without disadvantage to themselves. A letter dated at Fort Howard, 25 July, gives the following account of the affair :

“ Last evening we received the intelligence of a battle having been fought between Gen. Dodge and his division, and the Sacs and Foxes, in which the former were victorious. The particulars, as stated in Capt. Plimpton's letter to Capt

. Clark, are these: Parquett, with a few Wiimebagos, left the Portage a few days since, to proceed to Gen. Dodge's army, and guide them to the Sac camp. On Saturday morning last, 21st inst., Gen. Dodge sent his adjutant to report to Gen. Alkinson of his movements. He had not proceeded far before he came upon the Sacs' and Foxes' trail, directing their course to the Ouisconsin river. He immediately returned and reported the circumstance to Gen. Dodge, who pursued and overtook them about sundown of the same day, (Saturday) on the left bank of the Quisconsin, and about 40 miles from Fort Winnebago, when the fight ensued; the Indians at the same time retreating. The night being very dark, they found it impossible to pursue them. They had found, when Parquett left them, which was early the next morning, 16 Indians killed, and but one white man killed, and four wounded. Parquett thinks not less than 40 Indians fell in the engagement.”

We have the official account of the battle by General Dodge; but as it contains no additional facts, and is less minute than this, it was ‘not thought worth while to insert it.

The truly deplorable condition of the Indians at this time cannot well be conceived of. In their pursuit of them before the battle, the whites foupd numbers dead in the way-emaciated, and starved to death! When overtaken by Gen. Dodge, they were not estimated to be but about 300 men, besides women and children, and although the affair of the 21st is called a battle, it does not seem that it can scarcely deserve that name, for if there had been any thing more than a show of resistance, more of the whites would have been killed.

The Indians report that they were attacked about a mile from the river: the approach of the army was discovered, and Black-hawk, with only 50 or 60 men, met them, to give the remainder time to cross to an island. Neapope, who had been ordered to march in the rear with about 20 warriors, to give notice when the whites were discovered, had been passed by them by an unexpected route, and Black-hawk heard no more from him until after the war. He found there was no chance of success by continuing it, deserted his braves, went to the Winnebago village, and soon after became a prisoner to the whites. Meanwhile General Atkinson had marched from Coshconong, and following in the trail of Dodge, had arrived within two days' march of the place where the fight had been with the Indians, and was immediately ready to coöperate with him. After receiving the news of the battle, he marched to the Blue Mounds on the Ouisconsin, opposite to where the fight had been.

The Indians were surprised that they were not pursued; but for want of boats or canoes, or the means of constructing ratts, they could not even crose to the island to which the Indians had escaped for two days after, and in the mean time they escaped. That they were not pressed harder on the night of

the battle, General Dodge urged in excuse, that his men were won down with fatigue, having marched 40 miles that day.

Among the prisoners taken by General Dodge's party, was the wife of the warrior called the BIG-LAKE. She was a sister of Keokuk, and her husband had been killed in the fight. Although the whites were satisfied before, they were now informied by this squaw of Black-hawk's final resolution ; which was, for such of his men as had good horses to proceed with him and strike the Mississippi above Prairie du Chien, while the remainder should proceed by the Ouisconsin ; and a place of rendezvous was appointed for all to meet on the west side of the great river. This squaw also stated that before the battle on the Quisconsin, in which she was taken, 200 of Black-hawk's men had been killed.

General Dodge having recommended a cannon to be placed on the bank of the river, at a suitable place below the battle-ground, to cut off such as should attempt an escape in that direction, marched with his army on the 23d, and joined General Atkinson at the Blue Mounds, and every thing was immediately put in readiness to pursue the main body of the Ivdians under Black-hawk.

As was intended, many fell into the hands of the whites as they descended the Ouisconsin. Some of the boats conveying these poor wretches were overset, and many of those in them were drowned; the greater number, however, fell into the hands of their enemies in their passage. Many of the children were found to be in such a famished state that they could not be revived.

Several untoward circumstances now transpired to prevent the escape of the main body under Black-hawk. The first was bis falling in with a steamboat on the 1st of August, just as they were preparing to cross the Mississippi, by which means that day was lost. And upon the next day, the whole army of whites under General Atkinson came upon them, which completed their destruction. As in the affair of the 21 of July on the Ouisconsin, Black-hauk did not wish to fight, but to escape ; and when the steam-boat fell in with him he used every means to give the captain of her to understand that he desired to surrender. He displayed two white flags, and about 150 of his men approached the river without arms, and made signs of submission; but whether, as was said by the whites, the interpreter on board was so frightened that he could not convey the meaning of those on shore to the captain of the boat, or whether, as it would seem, the whites were determined to kill Indians, we will not take upon us to decide, but lay before the reader the account of the affair by Captain I. Throcmorton, of the boat, which is as follows:

“ Prairie du Chien, 3 Aug. 1832. I arrived at this place on Monday last, [30 July,) and was despatched, with the Warrior alone, to Wapashaw's village, 120 miles above, to inform them of the approach of the Sacs, and to order down all the friendly Indians to this place. On our way down, we met one of the Sioux band, who informed us that the Indians (our enemies) were on Bad-axe River, to the number of 400. We stopped and cut some wood, and prepared for action. About 4 o'clock on Wednesday afternoon, [1 Aug.] we found the gentlemen (Indians) where he stated he had left them. As we neared them, they raised a white flag, and endeavored to decoy us; but we were a little too old for them; for instead of landing, we ordered them to send a boat on board, which they declined. After about 15 minutes' delay, giving them time to remove a few of their women and children, we let slip a sixpounder loaded with canister, followed by a severe fire of musketry; and if ever you saw straight blankets, you would have seen them there. I fought them at anchor most of the time, and we were all very much exposed. I have a ball which came in close by where I was standing, and passed through the bulk-head of the wheel-room. We fought them for about an hour or more, until our wood began to fail, and night coming on, we left, and went on to the Prairie. This little fight cost them 23 killed, and, of course, a great many wounded. We never lost a man, and had but one man wounded, (shot through the leg.) The next morning, before we could get back again, on account of a heavy fog, they had the whole [of General Atkinson's) army upon them. We found them at it, walked in, and took a hand ourselves. The first sliol tro'ri

652

DEFEAT OF BLACK-HAWK ON THE MISSISSIPPI. [Book V. the Warrior laid out three. I can hardly tell you any thing about it, for I am in great haste, as I am now on my way to the field again. The army lost eight or nine killed, and seventeen wounded, whom we brought down. One died on deck last night. We brought down 36 prisoners, women and children. I tell you what, Sam, there is no fun in fighting Indians, particularly at this season, when the grass is so very bright. Every man, and even my cabin-boy, fought well. We had 16 regulars, 5 riflemen, and 20 of ourselves. Mr. How, of Platte, Mr. James G. Soulard, and one of the Rolettes, were with us, and fought well.”

Lieutenant Kingsbury, an officer in command of the United States' troops on board the Warrior at the time of the fight, reported that, about 40 miles above Prairie du Chien, a great number of the Sacs and Foxes were seen, who hoisted a white flag, but would not send a canoe on board, although they were told that, in case they did not, they should be fired upon, which was imme. diately done. They seemed much alarmed when the six-pounder was discharged upon them, and all immediately covered themselves with trees and whatever offered. Five or six were supposed to have been killed.

Early on the morning of the next day, August 2, the whole combined army, amounting to 1600 men, came up with the Indians; and the following are the particular details of that whole transaction, as published at Galena, four days after it happened, namely, August 6.

“The whole army under General Atkinson, embracing the brigades commanded by Generals Henry, Posey, and Alexander, and squadron under command of General Dodge, all crossed over to the north side of the Ouisconsin at Helena, on the 28th and 29th ult. They took up a line of march in a northerly direction, in order to intersect the Indian trail. At the distance of about five miles, the great trail was discovered, leading in a direction N. of W. towards the Mississippi, and supposed to be about four days old. General Alkinson, seeing the direction of the enemy, knew well that it would require all diligence and expedition to overtake them before they would cross the Mississippi, and hence commenced from that time a forced march; leaving all baggage wagons, and every thing else which was calculated to retard the pursuit.

“ The country through which the enemy's trail led our army between the Quisconsin Bluffs and the Kickapoo River was one continued series of mountains. No sooner had they reached the summit of one high and almost perpendicular hill, than they had to descend on the other side equally steep to the base of another. · Nothing but a deep ravine, with muddy banks, separated these mountains. The woods, both upon the top of the highest mountains, and it the bottom of the deepest hollows, was of the heaviest growth. The under-bushes were chiefly thorn and prickly ash. This is a short description of the route, and shows the difficulties of the pursuit. Notwithstanding all this, our army gained on the enemy daily, as appeared from the enemy's encampments. The tedious march thus continued was met by our brave troops without a murmur; and as the Indian signs appeared more recent, the officers and men appeared more anxious to push on. On the fourth night of our march from Helena, and at an encampment of the enemy, was discovered an old Sac Indian, by our spies, who informed them that the main body of the enemy had, on that day, gone to the Mississippi, and intended to cross on the next morning, Aug. 2d. The horses being nearly broken down, and the men nearly exhausted from fatigue, General Atkinson ordered a halt for a few hours, (it being after 8 o'clock,) with a determination to start at 2 o'clock for the Mississippi, about ten miles distant. At the precise hour the bugles sounded, and in a short time all were ready to march.

“ General Dodge's squadron was honored with being placed in front; the infantry followed next; General Henry's brigade next; General Alexander's next; and General Posey's formed the rear-guard. General Dodge called for, and as soon received, 20 volunteer spies to go ahead of the whole army.

“ In this order the march commenced. They had not, however, gone more than five miles, before one of our spies came back, annourcing their having come in sight of the enemy's picket-guard. He went back, and the intelligence was quickly conveyed to General Alkinson, then to all the commander

of the brigades; and the celerity of the march was instantly increased. In a few minutes more, the firing commenced at about 500 yards ahead of the front of the army, between our spies and the Indian picket guard. The Indians were driven by our spies from hill to hill, and kept up a tolerably brisk firing from every situation commanding the ground over which our spies had to march; but being charged upon and routed from their hiding-places, they sought safety by retreating to the main body on the bank of the river, and joining in one general effort to defend themselves there or die on the ground.

“ Lest some might escape by retreating up or down the river, General .Itkinson very judiciously ordered General Alexander and General Posey to form the right wing of the army, and march down to the river above the Indian encampment on the bank, and then move down. General Henry formed the left wing, and marched in the main trail of the enemy. The U. S. infantry, and General Dodge's squadron of the mining troops, marched in the centre. With this order our whole force descended the almost perpendicular bluff, and came into a low valley, heavily timbered with a large growth of underbrush, weeds and grass.—Sloughs, deep ravines, old logs, &c. were so plentiful as to afford every facility for the enemy to make a strong defence. General Henry first came upon and commenced a heavy fire, which was returned by the enemy. The enemy, being routed from their first hiding-places, sought others. General Dodge's squadron and the U. S. troops soon came into action, and, with General Henry's men, rushed into the strong defiles of the enemy, and killed all in their way, except a few who succeeded in swimming a slough of the Mississippi, 150 yards wide. During this time the brigades of Generals Alexander and Posey were marching down the river, when they fell in with another part of the enemy's army, and killed and routed all that opposed them.

“ The battle lasted upwards of three hours. About 50 of the enemy's women and children were taken prisonets, and many, by accident in the battle, were killed. When the Indians were driven to the bank of the Mississippi, some hundreds of men, women, and children, plunged into the river, and hoped by diving, &c. to escape the bullets of our guns; very few, however, escaped our sharp-shooters.

« The loss on the side of the enemy never can be exactly ascertained, but, according to the best computation, they must have lost in killed upwards of 150. Our loss in killed and wounded was 27.

“Some had crossed the river before our arrival ; and we learn by a prisoner, that Black-hawk, while the battle waxed warm, had stolen off, and gone up the river on this side. If he did, he took nothing with him; for his valuables, many of them, together with certificates of good character, and of his having fought bravely against the United States during the last war, &c., signed by British officers, were found on the battle-ground.

“ It is the general impression in the army and at this place, that the Sacs would be glad to conclude a peace on almost any terms we might propose. On the morning of the 4th inst. a party of Sioux came to our camp, and begged premission to go on the back trail and have a fight with them. On the same day, our whole army started to go down to Prairie du Chien, (about 40 miles,) and wait further orders.

“General Atkinson, accompanied by Generals Dodge and Posey, with tho U. S. infantry, arrived at the Prairie on the evening of the 4th, on board the S. B. Warrior, and will remain until the mounted volunteers arrive. The Winnebagos, at Prairie du Chien, are daily bringing in Sac prisoners and scalps.

“On the same day, a party of 15 men from Cassville, under command of Captain Price, were reconnoitring the country between that place and the Ouisconsin, and fell upon a fresh Sac trail making towards the Mississippi. They rushed with full speed of horses, and soon came upon, killed and took prisoners to the number of 12.

“General Scott and staff left here this morning for Prairie du Chien, in the steam-boat Warrior, to join General Atkinson."

This was the finishing stroke to the war with the Sacs and Foxes, although Black-hawk himself bad made his escape. General Atkinson immediately

654

NEAPOPE.

(BUOK V

directed Keokuk to send out some of his Indians to demand a surrender of all the warriors that had escaped, and if possible to capture Black-hawk, and bring him in either alive or dead.

Respecting his last battle, Black-havok has said, that when the whites came upon his people, they tried to give themselves up, and made no show of resistance until the soldiers began to slaughter them, and then his braves determined to fight until they were all killed. With a small party he went to the Winnebayo village at Prairie la Cross. Here he told the chief he desired to give himself up to the whites, and let them kill him, if they wished to do so. The squaws at this place made him a dress of white deerskins, preparatory to his departure for Prairie du Chien, to which it appears he went voluntarily with those that had been sent out after him.

The Sioux, of whom we have made mention, that had permission to go out after the flying Sacs on the 3d of August, were about 100 in number. They soon after met with the flying band on the west side of the Mississippi, and indiscriminately murdered about 120 of the poor half-starved creatures who had escaped from the whites through so many perils.

A most distressing incident is related as having taken place in the battle of the 2 August, which it may not be improper to lay before the reader, that examples of the horrors of war may not be wanting. “When our troops charged the enemy in their defiles near the bank of the Mississippi, men, women, and children, were seen mixed together, in such a manner as to render it difficult to kill one, and save the other. A young squaw of about 19 stood in the grass at a short distance from our line, holding her little girl in her arms, about four years old. While thus standing, apparently unconcerned, a ball struck the right arm of the child above the elbow, and, shattering the bone, passed into the breast of its poor mother, who instantly fell dead to the ground. She fell upon the child, and confined it to the ground also. During the whole battle, this babe was heard to groan and call for relief, but none had time to afford it. When, however, the Indians had retreated from that spot, and the battle had nearly subsided, Lieutenant Anderson, of the United States' army, went to the place and took from under the dead mother her wounded daughter, and brought it to a place selected for surgical aid. It was soon ascertained that its arm must come off; and the operation was performed upon the little sufferer without drawing from it a tear or a shriek." At the last accounts it was doing well. When we are told that this Indian child was sucking a piece of dry biscuit during the whole time of the amputation, it almost causes a disbelief of the whole story; but such are the facts given.

Although no further depredations could be feared from the Sacs, yet on the 9 August, six Indians approached a block-house on Cedar Creek, which runs into Henderson's River, about 10 miles north of Warren court-house, and shoi, tomahawked and scalped a young man named William Martin. They left behind them a pair of leggins and a loaded gun, and fled, as was supposed, over the Mississippi. A company of 15 rangers went in immediate pursuit, but could not come up with them. It was soon after discovered that this murder was committed by some of Keokuk's band, and he gave up his nephew as the perpetrator of it.

CHAPTER X.

Particulars in the lives of tre chief men- -NEAPOPE-His account of himself-Surten

der of BLACK-HAWK--Speeches on the occasion-His speech on the same-- Particu. lars in his early history-WABOKIESHIEK, the Prophet Treaty of Sptember. 1832– -Account of Black-hawk's companionsArrival of the Ind ans at HushingtonBlack-hawk's interview with the President.

NEAPOPE was second in command to Black-hawk, and in all the expeditions against the whites; he was taken prisoner in the fight with the Sioux, and al

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