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قراءة كتاب Great Indian Chief of the West; Or, Life and Adventures of Black Hawk

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‏اللغة: English
Great Indian Chief of the West; Or, Life and Adventures of Black Hawk

Great Indian Chief of the West; Or, Life and Adventures of Black Hawk

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
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story of their defeat. Some forty or fifty years ago, the Sauks and Foxes attacked a small village of Peorias, about a mile below St. Louis and were there defeated. At a place on the Illinois river, called Little Rock, there were formerly killed by the Chippeways and Ottowas, a number of men, women and children of the Minneway nation. In 1800 the Kickapoos made a great slaughter of the Kaskaskia Indians. The Main-Pogue, or Potawatimie juggler, in 1801, killed a great many of the Piankeshaws on the Wabash."

The land on which St. Louis stands, as well as the surrounding country, was claimed by the Illini confederacy, which had acquiesced in the intrusion of the whites. This circumstance, it is supposed, led the northern confederacy to the attempt, which they made in 1779, to destroy the village of St. Louis, then occupied by the Spaniards. As the Sacs and Foxes were active participators in this attack, no apology is necessary for introducing the following graphic account of it, from the pen of Wilson Primm, Esqr. of St. Louis.[2]

"In the mean time numerous bands of the Indians living on the lakes and the Mississippi—the Ojibeways, Menomonies, Winnebagoes, Sioux, Sacs, &c. together with a large number of Canadians, amounting in all to upwards of fourteen hundred, had assembled on the eastern shore of the Mississippi, a little above St. Louis, awaiting the sixth of May, the day fixed for the attack. The fifth of May was the feast of Corpus Christi, a day highly venerated by the inhabitants, who were all Catholics. Had the assault taken place then, it would have been fatal to them, for, after divine service, all the men, women and children had flocked to the prairie to gather strawberries, which were that season very abundant and fine. The town being left perfectly unguarded, could have been taken with ease, and the unsuspecting inhabitants, who were roaming about in search of fruit, have been massacred without resistance. Fortunately, however, a few only of the enemy had crossed the river and ambushed themselves in the prairie. The villagers, frequently came so near them, in the course of the day, that the Indians from their places of concealment, could have reached them with their hands. But they knew not how many of the whites were still remaining in the town, and in the absence of their co-adjutors, feared to attack, lest their preconcerted plan might be defeated."

On the sixth, the main body of the Indians crossed, and marched directly towards the fields, expecting to find the greater part of the villagers there; but in this they were disappointed, a few only having gone out to view their crops. These perceived the approach of the savage foe, and immediately commenced a retreat towards the town, the most of them taking the road that led to the upper gate, nearly through the mass of Indians, and followed by a shower of bullets. The firing alarmed those who were in town, and the cry "to arms! to arms!" was heard in every direction. They rushed towards the works and threw open the gates to their brethren. The Indians advanced slowly but steadily towards the town, and the inhabitants, though almost deprived of hope, by the vast superiority in number of the assailants, determined to defend themselves to the last.

"In expectation of an attack, Silvio Francisco Cartabona, a governmental officer, had gone to St. Genevieve for a company of militia to aid in defending the town, in case of necessity, and had at the beginning of the month returned with sixty men, who were quartered on the citizens. As soon as the attack commenced, however, neither Cartabona nor his men could be seen. Either through fear or treachery, they concealed themselves in a garret, and there remained until the Indians had retired. The assailed being deprived of a considerable force, by this shameful defection, were still resolute and determined. About fifteen men were posted at each gate; the rest were scattered along the line of defence, in the most advantageous manner.

"When within a proper distance, the Indians began an irregular fire, which was answered with showers of grape shot from the artillery. The firing, for a while, was warm; but the Indians perceived that all their efforts would be ineffectual on account of the intrenchments, and deterred by the cannon, to which they were unaccustomed, from making a nearer approach, suffered their zeal to abate, and deliberately retired. At this stage of affairs, the Lieutenant Governor made his appearance. The first intimation that he received of what was going on, was by the discharge of artillery, on the part of the inhabitants. He immediately ordered several pieces of cannon, which were posted in front of the government house, to be spiked and filled with sand, and went, or rather was rolled in a wheelbarrow, to the scene of action. In a very peremptory tone, he commanded the inhabitants to cease firing and return to their houses. Those posted at the lower gate, did not receive the order, and consequently kept their stations. The commandant perceived this and ordered a cannon to be fired at them. They had barely time to throw themselves on the ground, when the volley passed over them, and struck the wall, tearing a great part of it down. These proceedings, as well as the whole tenor of his conduct, since the first rumor of an attack, gave rise to suspicions very unfavorable to the Lieutenant Governor. It was bruited about, that he was the cause of the attack, that he was connected with the British, and that he had been bribed into a dereliction of duty, which, had not providence averted, would have doomed them to destruction. Under pretext of proving to them that there was no danger of an attack, he had a few days before it occurred, sold to the traders, all the ammunition belonging to the government; and they would have been left perfectly destitute and defenceless, had they not found, in a private house, eight barrels of powder, belonging to a trader, which they seized in the name of the King, upon the first alarm. Colonel George Rogers Clark, who was at this time at Kaskaskia, with a few men under his command, understanding that an attack was meditated on the town, offered all the assistance in his power, to aid in the defence. This offer was rejected by the Lieutenant Governor. All these circumstances gave birth to a strong aversion to the commandant, which evinces itself, at this day, in execrations of his character, whenever his name is mentioned to those who have known him. Representations of his conduct, together with a detailed account of the attack, were sent to New Orleans by a special messenger, and the result was that the Governor General appointed Mr. Francisco Cruzat, to the office of Lieutenant Governor.

"As soon as it was ascertained that the Indians had retired from the neighborhood, the inhabitants proceeded to gather the dead, that lay scattered in all parts of the prairie. Seven were at first found and buried in one grave. Ten or twelve others, in the course of a fortnight, were discovered in the long grass that bordered the marshes. The acts of the Indians were accompanied by their characteristic ferocity. Some of their victims were horribly mangled. With the exception of one individual, the whites who accompanied the Indians, did not take part in the butcheries that were committed. A young man by the name of Calve, was found dead, his skull split open, and a tomahawk, on the blade of which was written the word Calve, sticking in his brain. He was supposed to have fallen by the hand of his uncle. Had those who discovered the Indians in the prairie, fled to the lower

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