BLACK HAWK WAR
In 1831 a treaty was made by which Black Hawk and his tribes of Indians were to remove to the west side of the Mississippi river, and release all claims upon the east side. Emissaries of the British government, from Canada, induced the Indians to disregard the treaty and return to their former homes in Illinois. On the sixth day of April, 1832, Black Hawk, with his followers, crossed the Mississippi, bringing with them their women, children and property. He announced that his mission was peaceful - but no doubt his object was to reclaim the territory he had released under the treaty of the year before. Governor Reynolds, learning of the movement of Black Hawk, called for volunteers to repel the invaders. Eighteen hundred volunteers, under Whiteside and Reynolds, were mustered into service, and General Atkinson dispatched them in pursuit of the Indians. On the twelfth of May they reached Dixon's ferry, where they were joined by Major Stillman with 275 men. Stillman considered his command independent of Whiteside, and declined to join Whiteside's brigade. Stillman, with Major Baily, received orders to go to "Old Man's creek," now Stillman's run, to ascertain the movements of the Indians. The two battalions camped about ten miles from the ferry on the evening of the thirteenth, and on the morning of the fourteenth Stillman took command of both battalions, and continued in pursuit until sunset, when they encamped in "front of a small creek" (Stillman's run) about thirty miles from Dixon. Black Hawk hearing of their approach, sent out three men to meet them and take them to his camp, that a council might be held; but the men were taken prisoners. Five others were sent out for the same purpose, but two of them were killed. This aroused Black Hawk, and with about forty men he met the assailants - the main body of his warriors being about ten miles away - and routed them completely, and in great confusion. In the fight, Major Perkins, Capt. Adams, and nine men, were killed, one of whom, James Milton, was from Macon county. William Cox, and others from this county, had their horses shot.
The following is a complete copy of the muster roll of the company from Macon county engaged in the war, showing the names of the volunteers, date of enlistment, date of discharge, and status of company at the time of discharge:
"Muster roll of Captain Johnson's company of mounted volunteers, belonging to the Fifth regiment, commanded by James Johnson, of the brigade of mounted volunteers of Illinois militia, commanded by Brigadier General Samuel Whiteside. Mustered out of service of United States at mouth of Fox river, the state of Illinois, on the 27th day of May, 1832; distance, miles, 150 from place of enrollment.
(The date of enlistment was all was April 24, 1832; and the term was 35 days.)1. Jas. Johnson, Captain, promoted to Colonel 16 May 1832
2. William Warnick, 1st Lieutenant, absent with leave
3. I.C. Pugh, 2d Lieut., promoted to Captain 16 May 1832
4. J.D. Wright, 1st Sergeant, absent on extra duty
5. James A. Ward, 2d Sergeant, promoted to 2d Lieutenant
6. Walter Bowls, 3d Sergeant, absent with leave
7. Joseoph Hanks, 4th Sergeant
8. Henry M. Gorin, 1st Corporal
9. S.R. Shepard, 2d Corporal
10. G. Coppenbarger, 3d Corporal, absent with leave
11. James Milton, 4th Corporal, killed in battle
12. Asher Simpson, private
13. A.W. Bell, private
14. Abram Black, private
15. D. McCall, private
16. D.H. Stewart, private, absent on extra duty
17. Elisha Butler, private, absent with leave
18. G.D. Smallwood, private
19. John Hanks, private
20. Jacob Lane, private, absent on extra duty
21. John Henderson, private, absent with leave
22. James Querry, private
23. James Miller, private
24. John Manly, private
25. James Ennis, private, absent with leave
26. John Clifton, private, absent with leave
27. Jesse Dickey, private, wounded in battle
28. John Williams, private, absent with leave
29. John Murphy, private
30. Jacob Black, absent with leave
31. James Herrod, private, absent with leave
32. Kinian Ingram, private, absent with leave
33. C. Hooper, private, absent with leave
34. Robert Smith, private
35. S.B. Dewees, private, sick
36. S. Miller, private
37. S.Troxel, private, absent with leave
38. Thos. Davenport, private, absent with leave
39. William Hanks, private, absent with leave
40. William Adams, private, absent with leave
41. William Miller, private
42. William Hooper, private, absent with leave
43. William Cox, private, absent with leave
44. Joseph Clifton, private, absent with leave
I certify, on honor, that the muster roll exhibits the true state of the company of mounted volunteers under my command, of the Illinois militia, of the brigade of mounted volunteers under the command of Brigadier General Samuel Whiteside on this day, and that the remarks set opposite the names of the men, are accurate and just.Signed Fox River, Ill., this the 27th day of May, 1832,
I.C. PUGH, Captain,
Commanding the Company"
There was also a company of Rangers organised during the summer of 1832, commanded by Captain William Warnick. This company was out in the vicinity of Kickapoo town near the head of the Big Vermillion, but found no Indians and soon returned.
The History of Macon County, 1876, pgs.58-60
In the year 1767, there was born in the Sauk village an Indian boy, destined to be a great leader of his people. Tracuta Wahicatah was the name given him, but the whites in after years called him Black Hawk. As he grew to maturity, he gave evidence of superior talents. He proved himself brave in battle, and sagacious and eloquent in the councils of his tribe. Inferior no doubt he was to the great Shawnee warrior, Tecumseh, or to the Pequot chief, Philip, but his portrait reveals the passion of deep lines of character. His forehead is broad and high, his jaws massive and mouth firm. He was ambitious of a warrior's fame; but he was always merciful to the weak and to the women and children of the pale faced- foe who fell into his hands. In 1810 and 1811 Black Hawk and comrades were "nursing their wrath to keep it warm," against the whites. A party of Sacs, by invitation, went to see the prophet at Teppecanoe. They returned more angry against the Americans. A party of Winnebagoes had massacred some whites, which excited for murder the Sac band headed by Black Hawk. A part of his band and some Winnebagoes attacked Fort Madison in 1811, but were repulsed. Black Hawk headed the Sacs in this attack.
In 1812 emissaries from the British arrived at Rock Island with goods, and secured Black Hawk with five hundred warriors to go with Col. Dixon to Canada. When they reached Green Bay there were assembled there bands of the Ottowas, Pottawatomies, Winnebagoes, and Kickapoos, under the command of Col. Dixon. Black Hawk and band participated in the battles of River Raisin, and Lower Sandusky, and other places, but getting dissatisfied with the hard fighting and small amount of spoils, he and twenty commrades, left for the Sauk village at Rock Island, where he remained for many years at peace, with the exception of a small battle on the Quiver river settlement in Missouri, in the present limits of St. Charles county, where one white man and an Indian were killed.
The principal cause of the Indian troubles in 1831-32, better known as the Black Hawk war, was the determination of Black Hawk and his band to remain in their ancient villages, located on Rock river, not far from its junction with the Mississippi. The government having some tine previously, by various treaties, purchased the village and the whole country from the Sac and Fox tribe of Indians, had some of these lands surveyed, and 1828 some of the lands in and around the ancient village were sold; the collision of the two races for the possession of the property produced the first disturbance between the Indians and the government. Seeing that war was inevitable the Governor of Illinois made a call on the militia of the state for seven hundred men on the 26th of May, 1831, and appointed Beardstown, on the Illinois river, as the place of rendezvous. The call was responded to with that promptness characteristic of the early pioneers of this state. Their habits of life were such that all were familiar with the rifle. After marching eight days, the mounted militia reached a point a few miles below the Sac village on the Mississippi, where they joined the United States forces under Gen. Gaines, and encamped in the evening. The next morning the forces marched up to the Indian town prepared to give the enemy battle; but in the night the Indians had escaped and crossed the Mississippi. This ended Black Hawk's bravado and his determination to die in his ancient village. The number of warriors under his command was estimated at from four to six hundred men. Black Hawk and his band landed on the west side of the Mississippi, a few miles below Rock Island, and there camped. Gen. Gaines sent a peremptory order to him and his warriors that if he and his head men did not come to Rock Island and make a treaty of peace, he would march his troops and give him battle at once. In a few days Black Hawk and the chiefs and head men to the number of twenty-eight, appeared at Fort Armstrong, and on the 30th of June, 1831, in full council with Gen. Gaines and Governor John Reynolds, signed a treaty of peace.
During the winter of 1831-32 rumors were rife that Black Hawk and his band were dissatisfied, restless, and preparing for mischief. A chief of the Winnebago Indians who had a village on Rock river, some thirty miles above its confluence with the Mississippi, joined Black Hawk, who was located on the west bank of the Father of Waters. The chief had great influence with Black Hawk and his band. He made them believe that all the tribes on Rock river would join them, and that together they could bid defiance to the whites. By this unwise counsel Black Hawk resolved to re-cross the river, which he did in the winter of 1832. That move proved to be their destruction. Through his influence and zeal Black Hawk encouraged many of the Sacs and Foxes to join him at the head of his determined warriors. He first assembled them at old Fort Madison on the Mississippi; subsequently, marched them up the river to the Yellow Banks, where he pitched his tent April 6th, 1832. This armed array of savages soon alarmed the settlers, and a general panic spread through the whole frontier, from the Mississippi to Lake Michigan. Many settlers in terror abandoned their homes and farms, and the Governor decided, on the 16th of April, to call out a large number of volunteers to operate in conjunction with Gen. Atkinson, who was in command of the regular forces at Rock Island. The Governor ordered the troops to rendezvous at Beardstown on the 22d of April. We give Governor Reynolds' circular which he addressed to the citizen- soldiers in the crisis then pending:
"To the Militia of the North-western section of the State:
"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 Sacs and other hostile Indians, headed by Black Hawk, are in possession of the Rock river country, to the great terror of the frontier inhabitants. I consider the settlers on the frontiers to be in imminent danger. I am in possession of the above information from gentlemen of respectable standing, and also from Gen. Atkinson, whose character stands high with all classes. In possession of the above facts I have hesitated not as to the course I should pursue. No citizen ought to remain inactive when his country is invaded, and the helpless part of the community are in danger. I have called out a large detachment of militia to rendezvous at Beardstown on the 22d. Provisions for the men and food for the horses will be furnished in abundance. I hope my countrmen will realize my expectations, and offer their services, as heretofore, with promptitude and cheerfulness in defence of their country.
To the stirring appeal of the Governor, the patriotic citizens of the state and Macon county nobly responded. Many of the best and most prominent men of the county enlisted to protect the frontier and preserve the honor of the state, and did signal service in the memorable events of the Black Hawk war. Among the citizens of Macon county, who went out in the campaign of 1832, there were as follows:
Officers. Jas. Johnson, captain, promoted to rank of colonel May 16th, 1832. First lieut. William Warnick, 1832. Second lieut. J.C. Pugh, promoted to captain May 16th, 1832. J.D. Wright, 1st sergt.; James A. Ward, 2d sergt., subsequently promoted to the rank of 2d lieut.; Walter Bowls, 3d sergt.; Joseph Hanks, 4th sergt.; Henry M. Gorin, 1st corporal; S.R. Shepard, 2d corporal; G. Coppenbarger, 3d corporal; James Milton, 4th corporal. The following were privates:--Asher Simpson, A.W. Bell, Abram. Black, D. McCall, D.H. Stewart, Elisha Butler, G.D. Smallwood, John Hanks, Jacob Lane, John Henderson, James Querry, James Miller, John Manly, James Ennis, John Clifton, Jesse Dickey, John Williams, John Murphy, Jacob Black, James Herrod, Kinian Ingram, C. Hooper, Robert Smith, S.B. Dewees, S. Miller, S. Troxel, Thos. Davenport, Wiliam Hanks, William Adams, William Miller, William Hooper, William Cox, Joseph Clifton.
The company was mounted rangers, and became a part of the fifth regiment. Captain Johnson was promoted to the rank of Colonel, on the 16th of May, and placed in command of the fifth regiment, and Lieut. Pugh became Captain. They were a part of the Brigade under command of Gen. Samuel D. Whiteside. On the 12th of May they reached Dixon's ferry, where they were joined by Jauor Stillman and his detachment of 275 men; Stillman declined to join Whiteside's Brigade. Major Stillman and Baily received orders to go to "Old Man's Creek," now Stillman's run, to ascertain the movements of the Indians. The two battalions camped about ten miles from the ferry on the evening of the 13th. The next morning Stillman took command of both battalions, continued the pursuit until sunset, when they camped in "front of a small creek," (Stillman's run), about thirty miles from Dixon. Black Hawk, learning of their approach, sent out three men to escort then to his camp, that a council might be held; but the men were taken prisoners. Five others were sent out for the same purpose, but two of them were killed. This aroused Black Hawk, and with about forty men he met the assailants--the main body of his warriors being about ten miles away--and routed them completely, and in great confusion. In the fight, Major Perkins, Capt. Adams, and nine men were killed, one of whom, James Milton, was from Macon county. William Cox, and others from this county, had their horses shot.
Captain William Warnick organized (the second Company) in the summer of 1832. It was called "The Rangers." The officers were Wm. Warnick, Captain, Elisha Freeman, 1st Lieut., Isaac Pugh, 2d Lieut., Alexander Bell, Orderly Sergeant. The company was fifty strong. They enlisted for sixty days, and furnished their own horses, arms, ammunition, and provisions. This company was organized for the protection of the frontier counties. They left Decatur June 4th, 1832, and marched to where Monticello, Ill., now stands, where they went into camp. While here they learned that the Indian village of Kickapoo near the head of the Big Vermillion, had been deserted by the warriors, who had gone to assist Black Hawk, and left their squaws, pappooses, and a few old men in charge of the village. The company proceeded to the village, but found that it had been entirely deserted about three days before their arrival. At the expiration of the sixty days, Capt. Warnick and men returned to their homes, but were told to hold themselves in readiness for further service. They were finally discharged 113 days after their enlistment. Each man of this company received for his services, $52.00, and a land warrant for 160 acres of land.
There may have been others, but these are all the names that we have been able to gather, as no official record has been preserved at Springfield. Few of the hardy soldiers of this war remain with us; many after the war was ended moved to other sections of the country, and many have passed over the river and are now in the embrace of the silent sleep of death.
The force marched to the mouth of Rock river, where General Atkinson received the volunteers into the United States service and assumed command. Black Hawk and his warriors were still up on the Rock river.
The army under atkinson commenced its march up the river on the 9th of May. Gov. Reynolds, the gallant "Old Ranger," remained with the army, and the President recognized him as a major-general, and he was paid accordingly. His presence in the army did much toward harmonizing and conciliating those jealousies which generally exist between volunteers and regular troops. Major John A. Wakefield and Colonel Ewing acted as spies for a time in the campaign of '32, to discover the location of the enemy, if possible. A Mr. Kinney acted as guide for them; he understood the Sac dialect. On the 14th of May, 1832, Major Stillman's command had a sort of running battle with the Indians at or near what is now known as Stillman's run, a small, sluggish stream. In this engagement eleven white men and eight Indians were killed. Black Hawk and warriors fought with the spirit born of desperation. Black Hawk says in his book that he tried at Stillman's run to call back his warriors, as he thought the whites were making a sham retreat in order to draw him into an ambuscade of the whole army under Gen. Whiteside. The hasty retreat and rout of Stillman and his army was, in a measure, demoralizing to the entire forces. Undoubtedly the cause of the defeat was a lack of discipline. When Gov. Reynolds learned of the disaster of Major Stillman, he at once ordered out two thousand additional vp;imteers. With that promptitude characteristic of the old "War Govenor," he wrote out by candle-light on the evening of Stillman's defeat, the order for the additional troops, and by daylight dispatched John Ewing, Robert Blackwell, and John A. Wakefiield to distribute the order to the various counties. The volunteers again promptly responded; however, the soldiers from this county did but little fighting. On the 10th of July the army disbanded for want of provisions. Gen. Scott arrived soon after with a large force at the post of Chicago, to effect, if possible, a treaty with the Indians. Small detachments of Black Hawk's warriors would persistently hang on the outskirts of the main body of the army, thieve and plunder, and pounce upon and kill the lonely sentinel or straggling soldier. On the 15th of July the soldiers were reviewed, and those incapable of duty were discharged and returned home. Poquette, a half-breed, and a Winnebago chied, the "White Pawnee,; were selected for guides to the camp of Black Hawk and band. Several battles and skirmishes occurred with the enemy, the principal of which was on the banks of the Mississippi, where the warriors fought with great desperation. Over one hundred and fifty were killed in the engagement, and large numbers drowned in attempting to swim the river. After the battle the volunteers were marched to Dixon, where they were discharged. This ended the campaign and the Black Hawk war. At the battle of the Bad Axe, Black Hawk and some of his warriors escaped the Americans, and had gone up on the Wisconsin river, but subsequently surrendered himself. Fort Armstrong, on Rock Island, was the place appointed where a treaty would be made with the Indians, but before it was effected, that dreadful scourge, the cholera of 1832, visited not only the regular army, depleting its ranks far more rapidly than the balls of the Indians had done, but it also sought out its many victims in the dusky bands of the Black Hawk tribe.
On the 15th of September, 1832, a treaty was made with the Winnebago Indians. They sold out all their lands in Illinois and all south of the Wisconsin river and west of Green bay, and the government gave them a large district of country west of the Mississippi, and ten thousand dollars a year for seven years, oxen, agricultural implements, etc., etc.
September 21st, 1832, a treaty was made with all the Sac and Fox tribes, on which they ceded to the United States the tract of country on which a few years afterwards the State of Iowa was formed. In consideration of the above cession of lands, the government gave them an annuity of twenty thousand dollars for thirty years, forty kegs of tobacco and forty barrels of salt, more gunsmiths, blacksmith shop, etc., etc., six thousand bushels of corn for immediate support, mostly intended for the Black Hawk band.
The treaties above mentioned terminated favorably, and the security resulting therefrom gave a new and rapid impetus to the development of the state, and now enterprising towns and villages, and beautiful farms, adorn the rich and alluvial prairies that before were only descrated by the wild bands who inhabited them. Agricultural pursuits, commerce and manufactures, churches and schools, are lending their influence to advance an intelligent and prosperous people.
History of Macon County, Illinois, p. 80-81
This Page Was Last Updated
Copyright 2011 by Gayle Jones for ILGenWeb
All materials contained on these pages are furnished for the free use of individuals engaged in researching their personal genealogy. Any commercial use or any use for which money is asked or paid for any reason is strictly prohibited.