© September, 2001 by Robert A. Braun.
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|Webmaster's Note: This chronology does contain some frank and graphic descriptions regarding the reported condition of massacre victims and battle casualites during Black Hawk's War. These descriptions may be too powerful for some readers.
Thursday, April 5. Black Hawk's Band crosses the Mississippi River.
Black Hawk, the Number One Warrior of the "British Band," leads his non-treaty band of Sauk and Fox Indians across to the east bank of the Mississippi River, near the mouth of the lower Iowa River, north of Yellow Bank. There, he meets Wa-bo-ki-e-shiek (White Cloud), the Winnebago Prophet. Together, they move north along the Mississippi toward Saukenuk, and then east towards the Prophet's village along the Rock River (present-day Prophetstown, Illinois.)
Sunday April 8.
General Henry Atkinson, in command of the U. S. Regular Forces in the district, acting on orders received at his headquarters at Jefferson Barracks, leaves the Barracks with six companies of the 6th U. S. Infantry for the upper Mississippi region. He embarks his 220 men on steamers Chieftain and Enterprise. Atkinson orders are to demand that the Sauk turn over eight or ten of the warriors responsible for the murders of 24 Menomonee Indians on July 31, 1831, just north of Fort Crawford , at Prairie du Chien.
Tuesday, April 10.
Near the rapids of Des Moines, General Atkinson is informed that Black Hawk and his band have crossed the Mississippi. Black Hawk leads a reported 400-500 mounted warriors, and a band of numerous lodges including women, children, and the elderly. Among the Sauk and Fox band are six lodges of the Kickapoo.
Friday, April 13.
At Fort Armstrong, General Atkinson meets with Keokuk and seventy head men and Sauk tribal leaders in council regarding the murders at Prairie du Chien. Keokuk tells Atkinson: "The one who has raised all this trouble is a Winnebago called 'the Prophet.'" He reports he is unable to turn over the murderers, because they have already left the Sauk villages and now lodge with the Prophet at his village. Keokuk assures the friendship of the remaining Sauk people, and promises to try to talk to Black Hawk and persuade him to return across the Mississippi.
Later, Atkinson send a letter to Governor John Reynolds of Illinois, asking for the assistance of his state militia.
Monday, April 16.
Governor Reynolds calls up the Illinois Volunteer Militia:FELLOW CITIZENSElsewhere, Henry Gratiot, Winnebago Indian sub-Agent, receives an express from Atkinson at his home at Gratiot's Grove. Atkinson asks Gratiot, whom he knows has the "ear' of the Prophet, to depart for the Prophet's village. It is a perilous mission: Gratiot is to meet with Black Hawk to negotiate the return of his followers across the Mississippi. He starts that day, accompanied only by his secretary, George Cubbage.
Your country requires your services. The Indians have assumed a hostile attitude and have invaded the State in violation of the treaty of last summer.
The British band of the Sacs and other hostile Indians, headed by Black Hawk, are in possession of the Rock River country, to the great terror of the frontier in habitants. I consider the settlers on the frontiers to be in imminent danger...
Thursday, April 19.
Atkinson concludes the council with Keokuk and steams north to Fort Crawford in order to secure all the reinforcements that can be spared from the garrison. He dispatches an express to Fort Winnebago and the "Mineral District," advising the population there to place themselves in readiness for defense.
Gratiot and Cubbage arrive at the "Turtle Village" of the Winnebagos (present-day Beloit, Wisconsin.) He is delayed until the 22d, waiting to hear if he will be heard by the Prophet and Black Hawk. He is joined by twenty-four Winnebago chiefs, including Broken Shoulder, Whirling Thunder, White Crow, Little Medicine Man, and Little Priest.
Saturday, April 21.
At Richland Creek, Sangamon County, an unemployed Abraham Lincoln enlists in the militia. His comrades elect him captain of the new company.
At Turtle Village, Gratiot and his embassy of Winnebago chieftains ride to Dixon's Ferry. There, they embark on canoes and paddle down the Rock River to the Prophet's Village. Gratiot bears a white flag of truce.
Monday, April 23.
Henry Gratiot attempts to negotiate with Black Hawk and Ne-a-pope at the Prophet's Village (present-day Prophetstown, Illinois). Black Hawk and his warriors march to Gratiot's lodge, haul down his white flag, and raise a British flag in its place. Black Hawk treats Gratiot like a prisoner, until the Prophet, himself, intervenes and Gratiot's secretary George Cubbage pays a ransom of ten plugs of tobacco. In council, Gratiot delivers Atkinson's "talk." He admonishes Black Hawk to settle down in peace, and direct his followers to plant their corn. Gratiot warns Black Hawk that if he refuses, American troops would sweep over them "like fire over the prairies." Black Hawk sends his reply through Gratiot: he tells Atkinson that the Sauk and Fox hearts are “bad,” that they would not return across the Mississippi, that General Atkinson would find the prairie grass green and not easily burnt, and that he would fight if Atkinson sends his "warriors" agianst him and his followers.
Wednesday April 25.
Privately, Gratiot is warned by the Prophet: “Chouteau, you have always been my friend and the friend of my people, and you and your party must not be harmed but there is great trouble. My young men will never consent to give you up and so must leave without their knowledge. Your canoes are on shore; go to them at a moment when I shall indicate and leave instantly, and go with all speed- like wild fire— for the young men will give you chase.” Gratiot and Cubbage depart from the Prophet's Village in haste, chased by young Sauk and Winnebago warriors. They paddle for their lives... and in a 'touch and go' race, eventually outdistance their pursuers.
General Atkinson directs Colonel Henry Dodge (lead miner and smelter, war hero, and Colonel in the Michigan Territory militia) to raise as many mounted men as he can from Iowa County. Dodge immediately turns to his friend William "Billy" Schuyler Hamilton of Hamilton's Diggings to raise a company. "Billy" Hamilton immediately starts recruiting a command from among his employees and neighbors.
Friday April 27.
An exhausted and unnerved Henry Gratiot arrives at Fort Armstrong. He delivers Black Hawk's "talk," and reports nothing more can be done to prevent the advance of Black Hawk and that nothing but force would avail. At Beardstown, Illinois, the militia gathers and is organized by Samuel Whitesides, a popular local figure and Indian-fighter.
Tuesday, May 1.
In response to Black Hawk's request to join him in his move against the whites, the Potowatomie hold council. Many wish to ally with the Sauk/Fox; others desire to avoid the conflict they know is coming. Chief Shabonna dominates the council and argues for a peaceful resolution. After long deliberation, the Potowatomie council decides to declare passive friendship with Black Hawk, yet declares that should any Potowatomie join Balck Hawk's band, they will be regarded as traitors. Sympathy for Black Hawk is strong among a few of the council and some Potowatomie leave to assist Black Hawk.
Wednesday, May 2,
Dodge musters in "Billy" Hamilton's company of volunteers as part of the Iowa County Militia.
Thursday, May 8.
General Atkinson musters into Federal service 600 mounted volunteers and 200 volunteer infantry at Fort Armstrong. He gives Col. Zachary Taylor command of some 340 U. S. Regular Infantry. Illinois Governor John Reynolds appoints Samuel Whitesides as Brigadier Geneneral to command the Illinois volunteers.
Friday, May 9.
Sauk Indians burn the trading post of Stephen Mack, Jr., on Rock River at the mouth of Dry Run Creek. Local Winnebago Indians intervene and Mack's life is spared. He immediately leaves for Chicago.
Monday, May 10.
Atkinson orders his army to march up the Rock River. Brig. Gen. Whitesides leads the mounted volunteers overland, while the Regulars (with Atkinson) are transported up the flooded Rock River in five Mackinaw boats, and two supply-laden keel boats. Whiteside's troops enter the Prophet's abandoned village, and burn it to the ground—the first hostile act of the Sauk War.
Elsewhere, Dodge departs at the head of a party of twenty-seven mounted men, including his two sons Henry Lafayette and Augustus Caesar Dodge, to ascertain the movements of Black Hawk and his followers.
Sunday, May 13.
Governor Reynolds directs Major Isaiah Stillman to: <blockquote) cause your troops under your immediate command to and the battalion under Maj. [David] Baily to proceed to the head of ‘Old Man's Creek’ where it is supposed that there are hostile Indians and coerce them into submission.
Monday, May 14. Affair at Old Man Creek.
Stillman and Baily, with their 275-man command, ride out of Dixon's Ferry, Illinois. They empty one whiskey barrel in the burdened supply cart, and finally arrive in camp near Old Man Creek by late afternoon.
The Black Hawk's camp is a scant eight miles away. Black Hawk and Ne-a-pope are engaged in continued negotiations with the Potowatomie, when they learn of the approach of the militia. Ne-a-pope sends a party of three unarmed Sauk under a white flag to parley with the Americans, while Black Hawk sends a group of five Sauk to observe from a hilltop about three-quarters of a mile from the militia camp.
Militia senties spot the approaching truce party and bring the trio into the camp. Unfortunately, a lack of interpreters means that the militia cannot communicate with the Sauk, who speak no English. Then, sentries spot the Sauk party of observation. Deciding the hilltop party is part of an ambush and the white flag is a ruse, about twenty mounted men from Captain Abner Eads' company charge the five warriors on the hill. The braves wheel their horses and ride away. Some of the militiamen are clearly drunk; others ride bareback, having not taken the time to saddle their horses. Ead's men fire on the Indians, whom they believe to be retreating. Ignoring the orders and entreaties of both Stillman and Baily, other small squads join in the pursuit. Believing that a general engagement is on, Thomas B. Reed of Captain Eads' company shoots and kills one of the three Sauk flag bearers on cold blood. In the resulting confusion in camp, the remaining two Sauk slip away.
Word reaches Black Hawk and Ne-a-pope that the militia has attacked the parley, and Black Hawk is enraged. He personally leads a counter-attack with 40 warriors. At the foot of the hill where the Sauk party of observation had stood, James Doty of Ead's Company is killed. Nearby, Gideon Munson, a Government scout, is likewise slain (although later historians will dispute whether or not such a person existed.) The militia break in a panic, abandon their camp, wagons, and equipment, and race for Dixon's Ferry and the main militia encampments.
Captain John Giles Adams commands a company of Mounted Volunteers belonging to Colonel James Johnson's Fifth Regiment. Adams raised his company in Pekin, Tazewell County, Illinois. During a critical moment in the battle, Adams throws together a hasty rear-guard action on a slight hill located south from the main milia camp:
As the troops came headlong on, Captain Adams, than whom no braver man ever lived, attempted to make a stand with a handful of companions upon the brow of a hill which lies about a half mile to the south of the creek, to cover the retreat of [Stillman's] fugitives. Darkness was upon them, yet they stood their ground to sell their lives as dearly as possible to save those who by the delay might reach points of safety..The moonlight was only sufficient to confuse the panic-stricken troops still more, and in that heroic fight unto death which Captain Adams and his men made, he scarcely knew whether he was fighting friend or foe. In the gloaming the conflict went on, and in the darkness of the night. In the gloaming the conflict went on, and in the darkness of the night, while the scattered forces were safely fleeing on to Dixon's Ferry, Captain Adams and his little band fell one by one, until the last man bit the dust, and then a scene of malignant deviltry almost incredible was perpetrated.
The volunteers who rallied under Adam's leadership were: David Kreeps, Zadock Mendinall, and Issac (nicknamed "Major") Perkins, of Captain Adams' Company; James Milton of Captain Pugh's Company; Tyrus M. Childs, Joseph B. Farris, and Corporal Bird W. Ellis of Captain David W. Barnes' Company; and Sergeant John Walters of Captain Ball's Company. [Note: A twelfth casualty, Joseph Draper of Captain M. L. Covell's Company, was shot, and his body found about five miles due south of the battlefield near the 1903 location of the George F. Smith farm, where it was buried. Reportedly, Draper had retreated with a comrade John Lundy, who took Draper on his horse. Another horse is found, which Draper insists on mounting. Without saddle or bridle, Draper loses control of his mount, which canters towards the approaching Sauk. Draper is shot and falls from his horse. He crawls into the underbrush and carves a mention of his wounding into his canteen. He dies and is later found by a burial party. Unfortunately, no copy of the writing on his canteen is preserved.]
Many of the panicked militia make it to Dixon's Ferry by midnight. Ever after, the skirmish and route of the Illinois Militia at Old Man Creek enters into history as "Stillman's Run."
Governor Reynolds, governor of Illinois, immediately issued a proclamation that called up an additional 2,000 mounted volunteers, "in addition to the troops already in the field." Reynolds then sent a letter to Colonel Henry Dodge:
Dixons (Ferry) 15th. May 1832
Genl Dodge, This night at 1. oclock we recd intelligence that Major Stillmans troops have been defeated [emphasis original] on sycamore creek, by the sacks. I cannot inform you of the number of the slain [emphasis original] but enough to be a serious Disaster. I apprize you of this as you will return with your troops to the protection of the settlements. The frontier of the mining country is in danger, and they ought to Fort or secure themselves from the Indians.
Tuesday, May 15
Brig. Gen. Whitesides advances to the massacre site near Old Man Creek. Reportedly, Captain Abraham Lincoln's company of Sangamon County mounted militia is detailed to bury eleven of the dead of Stillman's command. The soldiers find the dead mutilated, some with their heads cut off and the skin peeled off. Shabonna, a Potowatomi chief, sends word of likely Indian trouble to the settlements. He sends his son Pype-gee and nephew Pypes to warn the Fox River and Holderman Grove settlements, while Shabonna himself warns the settlements at Bureau Creek and Indian Creek.
Wednesday, May 16.
In response to the route of Stillman's troops, Dodge travels from the vicinity of Galena north and east to Gratiot's Grove. He writes General Henry Atkinson from Gratiot's Grove:
The people of the Mining Country are badly prepared to receive so great a shock as a Defeat of the Illinois Militia is calculated to produce. I will endeavor to Draw the settlements in immediately and if possible get the inhabitants to fort themselves the mounted men I may be able to bring to the field will act as an immediate cover to the settlements...
Saturday, May 19. Buffalo Grove Ambush.
Sergeant Fred Stahl, William Durley, Vincent Smith, Redding Bennett, and James Smith, ride between Galena and Dixon's Ferry bearing dispatches for General Atkinson, when they are ambushed at the edge of Buffalo Grove (near present-day Polo, Illinois) some fifty miles from Galena. William Durley is killed; the remaining five men escape and ride back to Galena with word of the ambush. Col. James Strode, commanding the 27th Regiment of Illinois Volunteer Militia, declares martial law and orders a fort built in Galena.
Monday, May 21. Indian Creek Massacre.
By late afternoon, fifteen settlers in the Indian Creek settlement: William Davis, William Hall, and William Pettigrew families, along with Henry George and Roberty Norris, are butchered by a band of about fifty Potowatomie Indians. Two settlers escape, young William Davis and John W. Hall, 23, son of William Hall. Two teenage girls, Sylvia and Rachel Hall, are taken captive, reportedly on the insistence of To-qua-mee and Co-mee (the scouts of the war-party.)
Tuesday, May 22.
A party of six men-- Aaron Hawley, John Fowler, Thomas Kenney, William Hale, Aquilla Floyd and Alexander Higgenbotham-- depart Dixon's Ferry for Galena. The men travel as far as Buffalo Grove, where they discover the body of Willaim Durley. The group immediately returned to Dixon's Ferry and reported the murder.
Wednesday, May 23.
General Atkinson assigns Felix de Hault de Lassus de St. Vrain, U. S. Indian Agent for the Sauk and Fox at Fort Armstrong, to carry dispatches to Galena, and thence to Fort Armstrong. St. Vrain is accompanied by Aaron Hawley, John Fowler, Thomas Kenney, William Hale, Aquilla Floyd and Alexander Higgenbotham. The party rides to Buffalo Grove, and there bury William Durley about one rod (5 ½ yards) from where he fell. The group continued on about ten miles in the general direction of Fort Hamilton, and camp for the night.
Thursday, May 24. The St. Vrain Massacre.
At first light, the St. Vrain party rides three miles, then stops to cook breakfast. After the meal, the men ride another mile to a location near Kellogg's Grove, Illinois before they are overtaken by a band of some thirty pro-Sauk Winnebago, led by The Little Bear. St. Vrain approaches the Winnebago with an outstretched hand, but his peaceful overture are ignored and the Indians make known their intentions to kill everyone of the whites. St. Vrain pleads for his companions' lives, who in turn ride off to save themselves.
John Fowler is shot from the saddle; next St. Vrain, himself, is killed. The war-party track William Hale for three-quarters of a mile before he is caught and killed. The Winnebago returns to the murder site and cut off St. Vrain's head, hands, and feet, then cut out his heart and passed it in pieces to the younger braves to eat. The Indians then pursue the surviving whites.
Aaron Hawley went his own way, while Kenny, Floyd, and Higgenbotham rode through the woods and prairie towards Galena. The three are intercepted by a group from the same Winnebago war-party. After miles of back-tracking, crossing creeks, and avoiding contact with another party of Sauk, the three finally reach Galena on May 27. Despite having the fastest horse in the party, Aaron Hawley is cut off from his companions and shot from his mount while mired in mud. His body is never found, although later it is widely rumored that "his horse was afterward seen in the possession of Black Hawk, and ridden by that Indian Chief."
Friday, May 25.
Henry Gratiot and Col. Henry Dodge, accompanied by two companies commanded by Captains James H. Gentry and John H. Roundtree (about 50 mounted volunteers), hold council with the Winnebago at the village of White Crow at the head of Lake Mendota. Dodge and Gratiot receive profuse assurances of the Winnebago loyalty to the American cause. Satisfied, Dodge returns to Fort Union.
Sunday, May 27.
General Atkinson sends a letter to Henry Gratiot, directing him to obtain the release of the Hall sisters: "...You will proceed to the Turtle Village [present-day Beloit] and prevail on the head chiefs of the Winnebago there to go over to the hostile Sacs and endeavor to ransom the prisoners. Offer the Winnebago a large reward, say $500 or $1000 for each [sister]."
Elsewhere, Abraham Lincoln is mustered out as captain. He immediately enlists as a private in a company raised by Captain Elijah Iles. This company is one of six companies that constitutes a twenty-day interim regiment commanded by Col. Jacob Fry.
Tuesday, May 29.
General Atkinson moves his army from Dixon's Ferry to Ottowa, and establishes his headquarters at the mouth of the Fox River. Atkinson remains here until June 8.
Elsewhere, Henry Gratiot and Edward Bouchard-- himself a former militia lieutenant at Fort Blue Mounds and recently appointed Indian sub-Agent-- meet with several Winnebago chiefs, including White Crow. The leaders are asked to contact the Sauk for the release of the Hall sisters. The Winnebagos are informed of Atkinson's reward, and are further instructed that if the Sauk turn down the reward, they should resort to force.
Wednesday, May 30. Hall sisters are released.
Inspired by the offer of $2,000 for the release of the Hall sisters, White Crow leads a party of a dozen Winnebagos to the camp of the British Band. He negotiates the release of the Hall sisters, and starts north toward Mound Fort, at the Blue Mounds. Although Gen. Atkinson had offered $2,000 for the girls, the ransom paid to the Sauk by the Winnebago for their release is ten ponies, plus quantities of tobacco, corn, and assorted gifts.
Sunday, June 3.
White Crow and his Winnebagos deliver the Hall sisters to the garrison at Mound Fort. Col. Dodge and his militia arrive at the fort an hour and a half later, alerted to the possibility that the Winnebago may be massed to attack the settlements on the area of the Blue Mounds. He greets White Crow warmly, and provides the band with a beef steer with which to have a feast. Dodge also arranges comfortable quarters for the Winnebago in nearby miner cabins. Then, Dodge prudently orders a ring of sentries around the cabins.
That night, Dodge is awakened by Jean P. B. Gratiot. He reports to Dodge that White Crow and his Winnebago have left their lodgings and White Crow himself is stirring up his charges. Gratiot relates that White Crow stated that Dodge is "no shakes of a fighter;" that Black Hawk would make mincemeat of him, as he had of Major Stillman; that the whites would not fight, that they are a soft-shelled breed; that they would not stand before the yell of the Red man. Gratiot finished by reporting that White Crow imitated in Indian style the spearing and scalping at Stillman's Run and then said that all whites that marched against the Indian would be served the same way. White Crow then told Gratiot to leave Dodge, return home, and stay there.
Dodge arrests White Crow and five other Winnebago. The captives are secured in a cabin surrounded by armed guards. Dodge himself lays down to sleep near the cabin, in what some consider an impressive act of bravery.
Monday, June 4.
White Crow and his band are marched to Morrison's Grove, fifteen miles west of the Blue Mounds.
Tuesday, June 5.
Col. Dodge and Henry Gratiot hold a 'talk' with White Crow and his band at Morrison's Grove. White Crow assures Dodge and Gratiot that, despite a few hotheaded young men that wanted to join Black Hawk, the Winnebagos affirm their friendship for the settlers. Dodge determines to secure their loyalty by holding three hostages: Whirling Thunder, Spotted Arm, and Little Priest, at Fort Gratiot until the end of the month. Dodge then departs for Gratiot's Grove with his hostages. (Later, it is learned that Dodge's action averts a major movement of the Winnebagos in the Four Lakes area to join Black Hawk.
Wednesday, June 6. Aubrey Murder at Mound Fort.
In the late afternoon, volunteers William Aubrey and Jefferson Smith, of Captain Robert Sherman's company at Mound Fort, go for water at Ebenezer Brigham's homestead. A small party of local Winnebago ambushes the men; one shoots Aubrey and stabs him to death with a lance. The gunfire is heard at the fort, and shortly afterward, Jefferson Smith comes staggering up the slope to the fort's dry moat, hatless, wide-eyed, nose bleeding from the exertion, with news of the ambush: "Indians have killed Mr. Aubrey!" Edward Bouchard, recently appointed Indian sub-Agent, quickly mounts a horse and intends to ride off in the direction indicated by Smith. He then calls to Lieutenant George Force to accompany him. Bouchard recalled:
I had, on that occasion, asked Lieutenant Force to go with me, to get Captain Aubrey's body, but he refused to go on, and I told him if he got killed, and was only six feet off, I would not go for his body.
Bouchard and ten other volunteers from Captain Sherman's company ride to the ambush site and recover the body of Aubrey; the dead man's horse, complete with bridle, saddle, and blanket, is found not far away. Fellow militiamen bury William Aubrey on a high point northeast of the fort. A few days later, Smith's horse is found wandering near the fort. Its bridle is cut, but the horse is otherwise unharmed.
Elsewhere in the Michigan Territory, Captain James W. Stephenson's company of mounted rangers from Galena joins Dodge's troops at Gratiot's Grove. Dodge now masses approximately 200 volunteers from eight different militia companies.
In Illinois, General Atkinson looks to secure his communications with Galena, which has not been heard from since the St. Vrain massacre. He orders Colonel Fry to detach Captain Elijah Iles' 48 man company and send it from Dixon's Ferry to Galena by way of Apple River Fort, thereby ensuring an open line of communication. Accompanying Iles' men as volunteers are Lieutenant Colonel John Dougherty Henry and a Lieutenant Harris of the U. S. Regulars. Riding in Iles' company is Private Abraham Lincoln.
Atkinson likewise orders Colonel Fry to dispatch Captain Adam Snyder and his company towards Kellogg's Grove.
Friday, June 8.
A Sauk war-party steals fourteen horses from a corral near Apple River Fort.
Elswehere, Dodge marches his volunteers to the Rock River near Kirker's Place, and bivouacs on the old "Sucker Trail" (in present-day Rush Township, Jo Davies County, Illinois.)
Sunday, June 10. Recovery of Remains from St. Vrain Massacre.
Dodge's volunteers come upon the St. Vrain ambush site, four miles south of Kellogg’s Grove. George Wallace Jones assists with the identification of the victims of the massacre. Jones, the brother-in-law of St.Vrain, identifies the body of St. Vrain only by the clothing and tufts of black hair. He recovers several personal effects, including St. Vrain's pocket-book, watch, money, and bloody coat. This task accomplished, Stephenson leads his ranger company back to Galena, while Dodge camps near the site. During the night, a supposed Sauk raiding party steals five of their horses.
At sundown, Captain Iles' company arrives at Apple River Fort. They assure the rattled occupants that no Indians have been seen near the fort. Iles and his men bivouac some 100 yards outside the fort walls. There, Lieut. Col. (later Brig. Gen.) James Henry drills the company almost all night, in preparation for any alarm. There is one alarm, which turns out to be false. The men get little sleep.
Monday, June 11.
In the morning, Dodge continues on to Hickory Point, where he camps that evening.
Tuesday, June 12.
Col. Dodge marches for Dixon's Ferry. From there, Dodge's men escort General Hugh Brady to Fort Ottowa, at the rapids of the Illinois River, where Atkinson is accepting new enlistments of Illinois Volunteers. Dodge returns to Dixon's Ferry, arriving at midnight.
Wednesday June 13.
From Dixon's Ferry, Col. Dodge marches his weary soldiers north toward Gratiot's Grove.
Thursday, June 14. Spafford Farm Massacre.
This morning, a party of six militia volunteers head south from Fort Hamilton to hoe corn. The men labor in a farm field claimed by Omri Spafford, near the Pecatonica River. A Kickapoo war party surprises the party and murders Omri Spafford, Abraham Searles, James McIlwaine, and an Englishman nicknamed "Johnny Bull." Two men, Francis Spencer and Bennett Million, escaped death by dashing across the Pecatonica River. Million races back to Fort Hamilton; Spencer gets lost, and is found days later hiding in a pig pen near the fort. He avoids going any nearer because he mistakes as hostile Indians a company of Sioux, Menominee, and Winnebago Indians led by Col."Billy" Hamilton.
From Gratiot's Grove, Dodge dismisses his volunteers to their respective forts to resupply and rest their exhausted horses. The men have been on patrol for eight straight days. Dodge stops long enough to pen a letter to a Galena merchant requesting provisions-- not only for his volunteer militia, but also for the people of the "Mineral District" displaced by the threat of Sauk violence. He then presses on to Fort Union and home. Shortly after he arrives, word comes regarding the Aubrey murder at Mound Fort and the Spafford Farm massacre. Under orders from Dodge, militia company detachments are sent from Fort Defiance and Fort Jackson to Fort Hamilton. They arrive around midnight.
Friday, June 15.
This morning, survivor Bennet Million guides militia volunteers back to the Spafford Field massacre site. There, they bury the mangled dead and search for Francis Spencer, to no avail. The troops return to the fort at dusk. At officer's council that night, the leaders decide to wait for Col. Dodge only until 8 o'clock, then strike for the Indian's trail under the command of Captain James H. Gentry. Among the volunteers is Alexander Higgenbotham, survivor of the St. Vrain massacre.
In Illinois, Captain Adam Snyder and his company camp at Kellogg's Grove. The night is stormy, but a sentinel spots an Indian trying to steal a horse.
In Washington D. C., President Andrew Jackson, tired of the inaction of General Atkinson, directs Secretary of War Lewis Cass to fire Atkinson and replace his with Major General Winfield Scott. Cass writes Scott at Fortress Monroe that he is to "proceed without delay to Chicago, & assume the command of the regular troops & militia in the service of the United States, operating on the frontiers of Illinois & Michigan, against the hostile Indians." Regarding the hostile British Band, Scott is informed:
It is the desire of the President, that you march against & attack them, wherever they may be. Nor will you suspend your operations, till they are effectually subdued. Let no truce be granted till the Black Hawk is subdued...
Saturday, June 16. "Battle of Horseshoe Bend" (Bloody Lake); Battle of Kellogg's Grove.
Members of a seventeen-man Kickapoo war-party murder Henry Apfel not far from Fort Hamilton. Col. Dodge and two men from Mound Fort arrive at Fort Hamilton. There, he organizes the command to pursue the Kickapoo. Dodge and twenty-nine volunteers catch up with the Kickapoo war party and kill or wound them all, scalping eleven who resisted on the bank of a pond in a horseshoe bend of the Pecatonica River. Three militia volunteers are wounded in the Kickapoo's opening volley; a fourth is seriously wounded in the ensuing hand-to-hand fight at the pond embankment.
Col. "Billy" Hamilton arrives an hour after the fighting ended at the head of a party of Sioux, Menominee, and Winnebago Indians. The native volunteers are thrilled at the scalps the militiamen show them, then set upon the bodies of the Kickapoo and mutilate them beyond recognition. The four wounded militiamen are trundled by cart to Fort Hamilton; Samuel Black is transported back to Fort Defiance, where he is nursed by Peter Parkinson. Black and two other volunteers will die.
Elsewhere, Illinois militiamen near Kellogg's Grove catch up with four Indians who attempted to steal horses the night before. Despite a surrender attempt, all four are killed and scalped. One volunteer is wounded, and four bearers carry the 200 lb. injured man back five miles to Kellogg's Grove. They fall behind, and the Sauks ambush the party, killing two, wounding a third, and finishing off the injured man on the stretcher. Captain Adam Snyder and 42 of his men arrive and a short battle develops. The Sauks withdraw after the war party's principle warrior is killed. In all, three whites and eight Indians are killed.
At Fort Wilborne. Private Abraham Lincoln signs on for a third enlistment-- this time as a private in Captain Jacob M. Early's Spy Company.
In Washington, D. C., Secretary Lewis Cass writes General Atkinson of Jackson's orders to replace him with General Scott:
I appreciate the embarrassments, under which you labor, in consequence of the discharge of the Illinois militia, and the present inadequacy of your force. The strength of the hostile Indians and their plan of operations are unknown here; but it is obvious that the frontier is in a state of danger and much alarm. The President is determined, that the most vigorous measures shall be taken to terminate the existing difficulties, and with this view Maj. Gen. Scott has been ordered to repair to Chicago, with a considerable body of regular troops, and to assume the general command of the operations against the hostile Indians...
The letter, along with other official correspondence, is eventually couriered by packet steamer to Chicago.
Sunday, June 17.
A Sauk war party steals ten horses from Charles Eames and Stephen P. Howard who were plowing bottom land near Apple River Fort. Captain James W. Stephenson, with twelve men from his company of rangers from Galena, and nine men from Apple River Fort (including Eames and Howard) pursues the horse thieves from the Apple River Fort area.
Monday, June 18. Captain Stephenson's fight at Yellow River.
The militia and the farmers from the Apple River settlement hotly pursues the seven-man Sauk party for several miles. Captain Stephenson's command catches up with the Sauk horse thieves about 12 miles east of Kellogg's Grove, on Yellow River southeast of present-day Waddam's Grove in Stephenson County. Stephenson follows the war-party to a dense thicket. Ordering his men to dismount, Stephenson attempts to sweep the thicket in order to draw Sauk fire and have the Indians reveal their position, but the Sauk refuse to fire. The impatient Stephenson then details a horse-guard and sends his remaining dismounted men charging into the thicket at the unseen Indians. An exchange of fire leaves one volunteer shot as the men leave the thicket to reload. Stephenson orders two more charges into the thicket, losing one man with each charge. In the final charge, there is a brief hand-to-hand struggle, with one Sauk stabbed in the neck and killed by Thomas Sublet. With both sides fighting with empty weapons and Stephenson severely wounded, the militia withdraws a third time from the thicket. Unsure of the strength of the Sauk war-party, the volunteers leave their dead, Charles Eames, Stephen P. Howard, and Michael Lovell, behind and strike out for Galena for help.
Tuesday, June 19.
Stephenson and his rangers arrive in Galena with news of their encounter with the Sauk war-party. Col. Strode organizes a column to return to the skirmish site to recover and bury the dead.
Wednesday, June 20 Force and Green Murders at Mound Fort.
Two men from Captain Sherman's company, First Lieutenant George Force and Emerson Green are murdered near the Mounds Fort, presumably by local Winnebago. Green's body is recovered by Indian sub-Agent Edward Bouchard, who recalled:
I went and got Green's remains, and brought them to the fort, they [presumably men of Sherman's Company] asked me if I would hold spite against a dead man? I replied that I would do what I said, whether a man was dead or alive; and Lieutenant Force's body laid where it fell for four days.
In Illinois, the companies of Captain James Craig and Captain Stephenson return to the site of Captain Stevenson's June 18 skirmish to bury the three dead volunteers, and reportedly, the dead Sauk.
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