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INDIAN WARS IN THE NORTHWEST.
Gen. Harmar's Defeat-Gen. St. Clair-His Defeat-Gen. Wayne-His Victory-His Treaties With the Indians-British Posts Surrendered-Death of Wayne Gen. Harrison-Tecumseh-The Prophet-Battle of Tippecanoe-Tecumseh's Alliance With the British-Harrison Appointed Brigadier-General-Perry's Victory-Gen. McArthur-Battle of the Thames -Tecumseh Killed-Peace With the Indians-Indian Titles Extinguished-Military Posts Established at Belle Point, Council Bluffs, and St. Peters-The Ricarees-Gen. CassTreaty at Fort Dearborn-Fort Atkinson-Grand Council at Prairie du Chien-Indian Outrages-The Militia Called Out-Gen. Atkinson-Policy of Removing the Indians West -Treaty With the Sacs and Foxes-Black Hawk-He Refuses to Comply With Treaties -Black Hawk War-Battle of Bad Axe-Gen. Henry Dodge-Black Hawk CapturedTaken to Washington-Keokuk-Black Hawk Purchase Gen. Winfield Scott-Treaties at Davenport-Antoine Le Claire-Removal of Sacs and Foxes to Iowa-Gen. StreetWapello-Maj. Beach-Sac and Fox Villages on the Des Moines-Gov. Lucas-Gov. Chambers-Visit of Hard-Fish to Burlington-An Incident-Speech of Keokuk.
ALMOST every advance of civilization on the American continent has been made at the expense of more or less conflict and bloodshed at the hands of the savage tribes who were the occupants and owners of the soil prior to the advent of the white man. Passing over the conflicts of the colonists in the early settlements of the East, the later struggles of the pioneers of the "Dark. and Bloody Ground," and the Indian wars of the South, we shall briefly refer to some of the troubles with the aborigines in the Northwest. the opening of the new country to white settlers it was necessary to establish military posts for the protection of the pioneers against the attacks of the Indians. In 1790, all pacific means having failed with the tribes north of the Ohio, President Washington sent Gen. Harmar with a military force against them. After destroying several of their villages, he was defeated in two battles near the confluence of the St. Joseph's and St. Mary's rivers, and not far from the present city of Fort Wayne, Indiana. In 1781 Gen. Arthur St. Clair was promoted to the rank of major general, and was entrusted with a command against the hostile Miamis. On assuming his command, the last admonition of Washington was, "Beware of surprise." Gen. St. Clair marched with his troops to the vicinity of the Miami villages on the Maumee. On the 4th of November, 1791, he was surprised in camp on the St. Mary's river, and his force of 1400 ill disciplined men was cut to pieces. He soon after resigned his commission. In this defeat St. Clair's loss was about 600 men. The savages were greatly emboldened by their successes, and it was soon found that more vigorous measures were necessary. The Indians continued to commit outrages against the infant settlements. In some cases, doubtless, the whites were the aggressors, for Washington in his annual message of November 6, 1792, recommended more adequate measures "for restraining the commission of outrages upon the Indians, without which all pacific plans must prove nugatory." Attempts were made to treat with the Indians, but the attempted negotiations proved unsuccessful.
After the unsuccessful and disastrous campaigns of Generals Harmar and St. Clair, General Anthony Wayne, who had won distinguished laurels in the war of the Revolution, was, in April, 1792, promoted to the rank of major general, and made commander-in-chief in the war against the western Indians. In August, 1794, he gained a signal victory over the Miamis, near the rapids of the Maumee, and compelled them to sue for peace. In the same year a fort was erected by his order on the site of the old "Twightwee Village" of the Miami tribe, where the city of Fort Wayne is now located. It continued to be a military post until 1819.
After his successful campaign of 1794, Gen. Wayne was appointed sole commissioner to treat with the Indians, and also to take possession of the forts still held by the British in the Northwest. He negotiated the treaty of Greenville which was signed by all the principal chiefs of the Northwest. By this treaty the Indians relinquished their title to a large tract of country. That characteristic determination which, during the war of the Revolution, had gained him the sobriquet of "Mad Anthony," impressed the hostile tribes with a dread of him which operated as a wholesome restraint. Gen. Wayne also took possession of the British posts in the Northwest, which were peaceably surrendered, in accordance with Jay's treaty, and from this time there was assurance of peace on the frontier. He died in the garrison at Presque Isle (Erie), Pa., December 14, 1796.
From the date of Wayne's victory up to 1809 the whites maintained comparatively peaceable relations with the Indians. During this year, Gen. Harrison, then Governor of Indiana Territory, entered into a treaty with the Delawares, Kickapoos, Pottawattamies, Miamis, Eel River Indians and Weas, in which these tribes relinquished their title to certain lands on the Wabash river. About this time the noted chief Tecumseh comes into prominence as the bitter opponent of any more grants of land being made to the whites.
Tecumseh was a chief of the Shawnees, born on the Scioto river near Chillicothe, about the year 1770. It was said that he was one of three brothers who were triplets. The other two brothers were named Kumshaka and Elskwatawa. Kumshaka is believed to have died while young, but Elskwatawa became the Prophet who co-operated with the chief in all his plans. His father, Puckeshinwa, had risen to the rank of chief, but was killed at the battle of Point Pleasant, in 1774. In 1795 Tecumseh was declared chief at or near where Urbana, Ohio, is now located. In 1798 he went to White river, Indiana, and his brother, the Prophet, to a tract of land on the Wabash. Tecumseh, by reason of his oratory, had great influ ence over the savage tribes, and his plan was to unite all of them against the whites in a conspiracy, similar to that of Pontiac nearly half a century before. For this purpose he visited all the tribes west to the Mississippi, and upon Lakes Superior, Huron, and Michigan. At the same time his brother, the Prophet, pretended to be directed by the Great Spirit to preach against the influence and encroachments of the white men. Their efforts to incite the Indians to hostilities were successful, and they gathered a large force of warriors, making their headquarters at a stream they called Tippecanoe, near the Wabash river.
Meantime Gov. Harrison was watching the movements of the Indians, and being convinced of the existence of Tecumseh's grand conspiracy, had prepared to defend the settlements. In August, 1810, Tecumseh went to Vincennes to confer with the Governor in relation to the grievances of the Indians, but demeaned himself in such an angry manner that he was dismissed from the village. He returned to complete his plans for the conflict. Tecumseh delayed his intended attack, but in the meantime he was gathering strength to his cause, and by the autumn of 1811 had a force of several hundred warriors at his encampment on the little river called by the Indians Keth-tip-pe-ce-nunk, or Tippecanoe. Harrison, with a force of eight hundred men, partly regulars and partly volunteers, determined to move upon the Prophet's town, as it was called. He encamped near the village early in October, and on the night of the 5th of November his camp was furiously
but unsuccessfully attacked. On the morning of the 7th he was again attacked by a large body of the Indians, but Tecumseh's warriors were completely routed, but not without a severe and hotly contested battle, and the loss of about 200 of Harrison's men.
President Madison, in a special message to Congress of December 12, 1811, speaking of this engagement, says:
"While it is deeply lamented that so many valuable lives have been lost in the action which took place on the seventh ultimo, Congress will see with satisfaction the dauntless spirit and fortitude victoriously displayed by every description of the troops engaged, as well as the collected firmness which distinguished their commander on an occasion requiring the utmost exertions of valor and discipline. It may reasonably be expected that the good effects of this critical defeat and dispersion of a combination of savages, which appears to have been spreading to a greater extent, will be experienced, not only in the cessation of murders and depredations committed on our frontier, but in the prevention of any hostile excursions otherwise to have been apprehended."
The result of the battle of Tippecanoe utterly ruined the plans of Tecumseh, for his arrangements with the different tribes were not yet matured. lle was greatly exasperated toward the Prophet for precipitating the war. Had Tecumseh himself been present it is likely the attack would not have been made. The defeated Indians were at first inclined to sue for peace, but Tecumseh was not yet conquered. The breaking out of the war with Great Britain at this time inspired him with new hope, and his next endeavor was to form an alliance with the English. In this he succeeded, and was appointed a brigadier general. He was entrusted with the command of all the Indians who co-operated with the English in the campaigns of 1812-13, and was in several important engagements.
After the surrender of Detroit by Gen. Hull, August 18, 1812, Harrison was appointed to the command of the Northwestern frontier, with a commission as brigadier general. As this was in September, too late in the season for a campaign, he did not assume active operations until the next year, by which time he was promoted to the rank of major general. After Commodore Perry won his signal victory on Lake Erie in September, 1813, Harrison hastened with his command to capture Malden. On arriving there late in September he found that Proctor, the British general, had retreated. About the same time Gen. McArthur_took possession of Detroit and the Territory of Michigan. Pursuing the British army into the interior of Canada West, IIarrison overtook Proctor at the Moravian settlements, on the river Thames, on the 5th of October. The British general had an auxiliary force of two thousand Indians under the command of Tecumseh. The battle was opened by the American cavalry under the command of Col. Richard M. Johnson, afterward vice-president of the United States. Early in the engagement Tecumseh was killed at the head of his column of Indians, who, no longer hearing the voice of their chief, fled in confusion. It has been claimed by some authorities that this celebrated chief was killed by Col. Johnson, who fired at him with a pistol. This, however, will remain one of the unsolved problems of history. The result of the battle was a complete victory for the Americans, with the capture of 600 prisoners, six pieces of cannon, and a large quantity of army stores.
This decisive victory over the combined forces of the British and Indians practically closed the war in the Northwest, and as a consequence peace
with the Indian tribes soon followed. Other treaties were negotiated with the Indians by which they gave up their title to additional large tracts of territory. The settlement of the country progressed rapidly, and again an era of apparent good will prevailed between the whites and Indians. By the end of the year 1817, the Indian title, with some moderate reservations, had been extinguished to the whole of the land within the State of Ohio, to a great part of that in Michigan Territory, and in the State of Indiana. In 1817 Gov. Cass, of Michigan, in conjunction with Gov. McArthur, of Ohio, obtained a cession of most of the remaining lands in Ohio with some adjoining tracts in Indiana and Michigan, amounting in all to about 4,000,000 of acres, and in 1819 Gov. Cass met the Chippewas at Saginaw and obtained a cession of lands in the peninsula of Michigan to the extent of about 6,000,000 of acres. The next year a treaty was made at Chicago, then nothing but a military post, called Fort Dearborn, with the Chippewas, Ottawas and Pottawattamies, by which a large additional tract was obtained, which completed the extinguishment of the Indian title to the peninsula of Michigan south of the Grand river. By 1820 a number of military posts were established far in the interior, and among them was one at Belle Point on the Arkansas, at Council Bluffs on the Missouri, at St. Peters on the Mississippi, and at Green Bay on the upper lakes.
During the month of June, 1823, Gen. Ashley and his party, who were trading under a license from the government, were attacked by the Ricarees while trading with the Indians at their request. Several of the party were killed and wounded, and their property taken or destroyed. Col. Leavenworth, who commanded Fort Atkinson at Council Bluffs, then the most western post, took immediate measures to check this hostile spirit of the Ricarees, fearing that it might extend to other tribes in that quarter and endanger the lives of traders on the Missouri. With a detachment of the regiment stationed at Council Bluffs, he successfully attacked the Ricaree village. The hostile spirit, however, still continued and extended to the tribes on the upper Mississippi and the upper lakes. Several parties of citizens were plundered and murdered by those tribes during the year 1824. An act of Congress of May 25th of this year, made an appropriation to defray the expenses of making treaties of trade and friendship with the tribes west of the Mississippi, and another act of March 3, 1825, provided for the expense of treaties with the Sioux, Chippewas, Menomonees, Sacs and Foxes, and other tribes, and also for establishing boundaries and promoting peace between them. These objects were in the main accomplished, and by the treaties made the governinent secured large acquisitions of territory. Gov. Cass, in conjunction with Gov. Clark, of Missouri, attended a grand council of the tribes this year at Prairie du Chien to carry out the purposes of the act of Congress last mentioned. During his continuance in office as Governor of Michigan Territory, Gov. Cass made, or participated in the making of nineteen treaties with the Indians, and by them acquired lands in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, to an amount equal to one-fourth of the entire area of those States.
During the summer of 1827, when the commissioners appointed to carry into execution certain provisions of a treaty, made August 19th, 1825, with various northwestern tribes, were about to arrive at the appointed place of meeting, several citizens were murdered, and other acts of hostility were committed, especially against the miners at Fever river, near Galena, by a party
of the Winnebago tribe, which tribe was one of those associated in the treaty. To quell these outrages the governors of the State of Illinois and the Territory of Michigan, made levies of militia. These forces, with a corps of seven hundred United States troops, under the command of General Atkinson, repaired to the scene of danger. The Indians, overawed by the appearance of the military, surrendered the perpetrators of the murders, and gave assurances of future good behavior.
For many years it had been the policy of the government to obtain a relinquishment of the title of the Indians to all lands within the limits of the States, and as rapidly as possible cause the removal of the tribes to territory beyond the Mississippi. In 1830 the Chickasaws and Choctaws, occupying portions of the States of Alabama and Mississippi, agreed to remove, and in due time carried out their agreement in good faith. The same year a treaty was made with the Sacs and Foxes, by which they agreed to cede their lands to the United States, and remove beyond the Mississippi. The principal village of these united tribes was located at the mouth of Rock river, on the east side of the Mississippi, near where the city of Rock Island now stands. Here had been an Indian village, according to tradition, for one hundred and fifty years. These tribes had owned and occupied the country bordering on the Mississippi, to an extent of seven hundred miles, from the mouth of the Wisconsin almost to the mouth of the Missouri. The Indians did not seem disposed to comply promptly with the terms of the treaty, and one band, under the noted chief Black Hawk (Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak), evinced a determination to keep possession of their old village. John Reynolds, Governor of Illinois, construed their continued residence in the ceded territory as an invasion of the State, and under his authority to protect the State from invasion, ordered out seven hundred militia to force their removal, according to the treaty. This interference of the governor of Illinois with the duties belonging to the Federal Government, obliged the commander of United States troops in that quarter to co-operate with him, in order to prevent a collision between the State militia and the Indians. Fort Armstrong, on Rock Island, had been established as early as 1816, and when the Black Hawk trouble commenced, was in command of Gen. Atkinson. The Indians were overawed by this imposing military force, and yielding to necessity, crossed the Mississippi. Black Hawk, feeling exasperated at the harsh treatment his people had received, resolved to prosecute a predatory war against the white settlements. He united his band of Sacs and Foxes with the Winnebagoes, under the command of the Prophet Wabo-ki-e-shiek (White Cloud), and in March, 1832, recrossed to the east side of the Mississippi. They murdered a number of defenseless families, and committed many outrages upon the settlers. The whole frontier became alarmed, and many of the settlers fled for safety. The governor of Illinois ordered out the State militia, which being joined by four hundred regular troops, constituted a force of about one thousand, under the command of Gen. Atkinson. They pursued the Indians, and after a campaign of about two months, during which two engagements were fought, the war was brought to an end. The last, and the decisive battle of the war, is known in history as the battle of Bad Axe, being fought on a small tributary of the Wisconsin of that name. This battle took place August 2d, 1832, and the force against Black Hawk was commanded by Gen. Henry Dodge, of Wisconsin. The Indians lost forty of their braves, and Gen. Dodge one. The Indians made but little