The full Legends of Michigan and The Old Northwest book consists of eight individual legends. This website contains three of those legends.
THE OLD NORTH WEST;
A CLUSTER OF UNPUBLISHED WAIFS, GLEANED ALONG THE UNCERTAIN, MISTY LINE, DIVIDING TRADITIONAL FROM HISTORIC TIMES.
B Y F. J. LITTLEJOHN.
THE RALPH W. SECORD PRESS
Iron Mountain. Michigan
RALPH W. SECORD PRESS is owned and operated by the Mid—Peninsula Library Cooperative, 424 Stephenson Avenue, Iron Mountain, Michigan 49801. The Cooperative provides central services to member libraries located in the Michigan Upper Peninsula Counties of Delta, Menominee, Dickinson, Iron, Gogebic, and Ontonagon. Since 1971, the Cooperative's press has specialized in publishing books about the Upper Peninsula. The press is named in honor of Ralph W. Secord, Michigan's 1975 Librarian of the Year, founder and guiding spirit of both the press and the cooperative until his retirement in 1981.
CELEBRATING MICHIGAN'S SESQUICENTENNIAL
THE OLD NORTH WEST;
A CLUSTER OF UNPUBLISHED WAIFS, GLEANED ALONG THE UNCERTAIN, MISTY LINE, DIVIDING TRADITIONAL FROM HISTORIC TIMES.
B Y F. J. LITTLEJOHN.
NORTHWESTERN BIBLE AND PUBLISHING Co.,
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1875, by
THE NORTHWESTERN BIBLE & PUBLISHING CO., ALLEGAN, MICH.,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.
MARDER, LUSE & CO.,
Electrotypers and Stereotypers.
HENRY W. LONGFELLOW,
Poet and Scholar,
at Hiawatha, so
replete with wide,
for all of human condition, has
not only added a precious contribu-
tion to the clustered gems of American
poetry; but by its pure, fresh, and truthful delineations of Aboriginal character, has sided
much in disabusing the public mind
as to the alleged innate, gro-
veling abasement and
of our North
This work is respectfully dedicated,
by its Author.
F. J. LITTLEJOHN.
Should you ask me whence these stories?
Whence these legends and traditions,
With the odors of the forest,
With the dew and damp of meadows,
With the curling smoke of wigwams,
With the rushing of great rivers,
* * * * * *
I should answer, I should tell you,
"From the forest and the prairies,
From the great lakes of the Northland.
From the seats of the Ojibways,
And the lands of the Ottawas.
The Author of this series of Indian Legends has been, for nearly forty years, a resident of western Michigan. Soon after first reaching the then wilderness, and for several succeeding seasons, his explorations as a Surveyor and Geologist were widely extended. The scenery, topography, water courses and indigenous
products of various sections in both peninsulas became familiar objects of sight and investigation.
The Author was thus brought in contact also with many tribal bands, scattered over their hunting grounds, or grouped in their forest homes. Being ever fond of tracing the peculiar characteristics, and curious in observing the distinctive traits developed by the various races of the human family, an interesting field was thus opened for research and inquiry. The average mental gifts and intellectual endowments of the aborigines, fell under his scrutiny, whilst their crude superstitions and strong proclivities for a fatalistic religious creed were plainly exhibited.
Their modes of living, tribal customs and general habits of thought also became familiar subjects to the Author. Their evident knowledge of the vast expanse of our country, with its irregular and complicated tribal occupation, was at first a source of wonder. With no methods of etching by glyphs, on any durable material; being also utterly unskilled in the art of writing on scrolls; they possessed but few memorial land marks of
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past transactions. With them, memory had no such resting place, whilst intelligence enjoyed no such radiating focus.
Yet their general useful knowledge was by no means confined within the narrow limits of individual life experiences. A knowledge of their remote origin;—of their men of renown in past ages;—of their devious migrations;—and of their tribal offshoots and divisions into clans, or bands, in former generations was and were quite generally diffused.
This knowledge gleaned along the pathway of centuries, was garnered up for use or transmitted solely by means of oral tradition. This legendary lore was taught and minutely rehearsed by the aged to groups of listening youths sitting around their lodge fires. It figured largely in their religious rites and ceremonies, and it constituted the burden of eloquent harrangues by gifted orators at their stated festivals.
When convened in Grand Council shaded by wide branching primeval forest trees, their chiefs and sages gathered from the steady light of this traditional lore, their systems of social and conventional life. By it they framed their tribal laws for regulating and guarding personal and community rights and franchises.
The power of memory thus cultivated and strengthened by habit, became wonderfully acute and tenacious. Long years after the occurrence of an event, the native beholders were found to have memorized the facts and circumstances with astonishing minuteness and accuracy. Hence we learn, when traveling Indian legendary ground to tread with the fearless freedom of the Scot over his native heather.
The characters, facts and events we have sought to delineate, or commemorate in these legends, we frankly
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admit have hitherto been ranked, neither among the world's celebrities, nor
have they been immortalized in song or story. They may all be pronounced within
the ordinary track of adventurers in border life and Indian warfare. To actual
frontiersmen with their families and descendants, we think these sketches will
have the zest and charm of a close approximation to what with them, has been
both earnest and real in border experience. To others unskilled in the ways of
our red men, and unacquainted with the wildness of their forest homes, these
legends may prove acceptable from their novelty. To others still, with a taste
and eye for natural scenery, our landscape delineations of the beautiful
peninsula in its wilderness costume and natural adornments may furnish artistic
These legends were originally penned by the author for his own amusement, in his hours of leisure or relaxation from more arduous duties. As such they severally bore the autograph of the writer under the nom de plume of "OLD TRAILER." In yielding them up for publication, at the solicitation of partial friends, the author has also been induced to abandon this shield of umbra stat nominis, by subscribing his real name of
F. J. LITTLEJOHN.
THE SAUK, FOX AND CHIPPEWA RAID;
THE MICHIGAN SCOUTS OF 1803.
To those of our readers who have perused our previous sketches of the Shawnee
and Pottowatomie campaigns, no apology is deemed necessary for a meager introduction to our present legend. Many of the prominent characters there presented and described with more or less minuteness, will be found figuring largely in the scouting adventures and sharp encounters of this new field of Indian warfare.
In our data, local delineations, or topographical outlines, the reader may trust to our general accuracy. Many landscape scenes and lovely picturesque views, we have been driven to exclude for want of space within our assigned limits for the present legend. Having thus said all we deem advisable as a prelude to our story, to that object we will now devote our special attention.
THE SAUK, FOX AND CHIPPEWA RAID:
THE MICHIGAN SCOUTS OF 1803.
In the early part of May, 1803, a solitary Indian had been busily engaged in taking fish at a small cove upon the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. On the adjacent bank
he had previously erected a substantial though limited structure for his domicil. During the preceding afternoon and night the lake with its shore region had been deluged by a rain storm, accompanied by a strong northern gale.
At sunrise the tempest had spent its fury and the storm had also ceased. The waters of the lake however, were still in wild commotion. The billows running high, were yet crested with whitecaps. Our aboriginal fisherman having betaken himself to his shelter as the storm opened, had there slept, or smoked away the intervening hours. But with the first beams of the morning sun he looked to the condition of his fishing tackle and the safety of his canoe.
The ground-swell of the lake, still strongly setting into the cove, created a surf too rough for his employ-
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ment. Partaking of his morning meal, and then filling his pipe with the wild growing but fragrant kinnikinick, he seated himself for a smoke, on the high bank with a fine outlook over the rapidly subsiding waves.
Whilst thus engaged an hour slipped quietly away. Then his eye caught, far to the northwest, on the crest of a wave, a dark tiny object. Now he lost it in the trough of the sea. Again it rode the top of the wave. For many minutes he gazed intently as it alternately hove in sight and then disappeared. That keen, practiced eye of his could not be mistaken. It must be a birchen canoe adrift. It lay too low in the water to be empty. Steadily scanning it still, he felt sure of catching a glimpse of a paddle motion outside. It seemed to be directing the course angling over the waves and inshore.
Acting with ready sympathy on this conviction, laying aside his pipe, he descended the bank. Hastily unmooring and shoving off his canoe, he leaped in and breasted it gallantly to the surf and the ground swell. The task was arduous thus to buffet the drift of each successive wave. Luckily he succeeded in coming alongside of the waif left adrift by the storm.
He beheld suffering and exhaustion depicted in the drooping form and haggared face of the inmate of that canoe half filled with water. Without a word he lashed the bow-line of the latter to the stern of his own craft, heading for the cove again. Standing erect in his small birch canoe, with skillful dips of the paddle, he safely reached his destination. There adroitly maneuvering his vessels abreast, the impetus of the last billow sent them bow on to the sandy beach.
He next aided the stranger to land and ascend the step to his rude shelter. Placing him on a pile of
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skins, he replenished the fire to dry his clothing. Intent on hospitable duties, he broiled for his guest some fish and venison steaks. The stranger at first ate sparingly, but as appetite and strength returned he made a full meal with a keen relish.
The host, whilst thus supplying his wants with the delicacy of aboriginal courtesy, had abstained from all questioning of his guest. The latter, with appetite appeased, and bodily vigor returning, first broke the silence. The half-dozed, despairing expression of eye and features was replaced by consciousness, and a keen look of intelligence. Glancing wonderingly about, then turning to his host he addressed him in the Osaukie tongue:
"You much kind to stranger. No ask but act. Me 'spect have a good heart, and straight spirit. Tell me then, where me now am, and who you be."
The language used was similar to that of the Shawnee dialect, with which the host was familiar. We prefer to give a literal rendering, thus preserving the abrupt idiomatic style and the inverted order of expression. The reply was frankly given in Shawnee words.
"This is Michigan land. This little stream is the South Black river. It is on the east shore of Lake. Big rivers on each side. One way St. Joseph, Kalamazoo, on tother side Wakeshma's wigwam. Me of Pottowatomie tribe. They belong on Paw Paw and St. Joseph rivers. Me here fishing. Good place, much plenty fish. Now me say 'nuff to stranger, 'fore me know who me speak to, and what for you come here."
The guest promptly rejoined: "Me tell last first. Storm fetch me here. Me did belong to Sauks of Green Bay. Me was Red Wing a chief of my people, three days ago. Now me nobody. Me now have no friends—no people, me outlaw from all—doomed to die,
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or wander a vagabond on earth." He then became silent, but his host replied:
"Waukeshma much wonders, but him tongue still. His ears open only to what Red Wing tell freely."
Again the latter spoke: "Much plain Red Wing see it all. The Pottowatomie is wise as well as him good. Him gave my life, feed me too, me tell him now few things. Him can see if me all wrong and ought to die. Osaukies come from Saginaw to Green Bay many years ago. Ontogamies there first. Much weak each band. Much 'fraid of Chippewas north around other big waters. The two strike hands to hive together, growing strong many years.
"Red Wing then do brave thing on warpath, and Osaukies make him chief. At same time "the Cougar" was made chief of the Ontogamies. We call them "Foxes." Them call us "Sauks." the Cougar and Red Wing both young, both proud and both much hot temper.
"One week ago there was grand council at Green Bay. Chiefs of Sauks, Foxes and Chippewas living south of big waters, all there. Them form one strong league to make long march, and do big things. Red Wing like it not. Him and Cougar have hot quarrel, much angry. Then them both draw knives for fight. The Cougar first strike. That blow Red Wing put on one side. Him then strike hard back, kill Cougar dead.
"His people want to kill me, 'cause me kill him. Them claim me of my people. Red Wing speak in his defence. Him say 'twas a stand up fight, and no murder. My people, 'fraid to offend Foxes on account of big job in hand, agreed to give me up. Red Wing in council leap over the heads of others. Him run much swift to landing. Get to canoe first, then make fast race out of Bay, and along north lake shore to Chippewa settlement.
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"Next morning the chief there, came home from council. Him 'fraid too to offend Foxes on account of big league. Him say would give me up if me not leave in one hour. Him call me vagabond, tell me my people had outlawed and utterly cast me off.
"Me much angry at this new outrag, and denial of right of refuge. Me spring in canoe and head for Mackinaw, then held by Hurons and Ottawas to guard waters against Chippewas and other tribes west. Me took cut off route across a deep bay in north shore.
"Half way over my traverse, storm strike canoe; me no steer it; no help myself; me turned canoe head with the gale, so it no swamp in trough. Next me laid in bottom, to keep weight low in water. The storm bring me here. No other man has lived so many hours in such a craft, out on rolling billows in great storm peril.
"Me think bad blood made Foxes claim me. Me think Sauks great cowards to agree to give me up. Me think it outrage to outlaw me, and that Chippewa chief a mean sneak much, to deny me right of refuge. Revenge me mean to have, up to measure of meanness to them all. Me knows how and where to strike."
Wakeshma responded to his statement. "Me knows Red Wing has been treated much wrong by 'em all. Wakeshma has visited many tribes and learned their usages and laws. All agree in this. When one strikes another in self defense, and kill him, it is no murder. So when two of same or different tribes, agree to fight for life, and blows are given and returned, between 'em, then if one falls, by mortal blow, it is not such murder as comes within the aboriginal right of vengeance by the next right of kin. So Wakeshma believes. Your wrongs are plain to him. But him sees not way of revenge."
Red Wing answered the Pottowatomie in earnest tones: "As healing leaves to a wound, the words of
the wise are to a troubled spirit, Wakeshma speaks with no forked tongue. Him words not crooked. When my outlawry unjust, then my name not blotted out. Me Red Wing still. My revenge comes of my knowledge. Where is the
nearest Ottawa settlement?
"At the mouth of the Kalamazoo," Wakeshma replied. "The settlement is called Saugatuck. Wakazoo, the Head Chief of that river Ottawa band, is now there. With smooth water it is only three hours away by canoe."
The other abruptly broke in, "Red Wing must see Wakazoo tonight. Time much now. How soon will em rough water run down?"
"With breeze as him now is, off shore, in four hours water this side smooth. That will give plenty time 'fore sunset. Wakeshma will take Red Wing there."
"My debt to you will be great, but Red Wing will not forget. Him want now to sleep." Suiting the action to the word he reclined at full length upon the skins. His senses were soon locked in much-needed slumber.
Leaving his guest to his repose, the host repaired to his fishing ground where he was quite successfully employed until an hour past noon. Dropping all other business and rekindling his fire, he speedily had a savory
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dinner of fish and meat prepared. Red Wing refreshed by his sleep, awoke seasonably, and now seating
himself by the newly-pealed square of bark, did ample justice to the tempting eatables set before him.
Dinner over, he stood up once more in the integrity of his normal manhood. He now appeared of medium height, of well-knit and sinewy frame, of comely features and easy address. His eye was black and always lustrous. His step and attitudes were those of a man, conscious of possessing gifts in virtue of which he was entitled to lead and command.
His host delighted with this rejuvenation of his guest's physical person, was most favorably impressed by that ingenuous air of conscious nobility of soul. Signifying to him that all was now in readiness for their departure, Wakeshma led the way to the canoes at the landing. Either one was sufficiently capacious to bear two persons. The old scout was in the act of unmooring his own for their trip, when Red Wing arresting the movement pointed to the other.
The Pottowatomie in running his eye over the craft, readily conceded to it the palm, of superiority, in material, model, structure and elaborate finish. Red Wing silently remarked:
"Me want it, not 'cause it best canoe, but 'cause it has symbols, known to Wakazoo." Thus saying he pointed to the "totem" of the Sauk tribe, nicely sketched upon the bow stem in blue paint, with his own name symbolized upon the stern in a very neat, naturally out lined, and finished bird wing, painted in vermillion.
The suggestions struck Wakeshma as ingenious and forcible. He unmoored the craft of Red Wing, motioning him to enter, as he designed to shove off and then jumping in to use the paddle. The Sauk in passing
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took the paddle from the canoe of the scout, and stepping aboard, seated himself on the stern thwart ready for work. Wakeshma having shoved off and leaped in quietly, took his place on the bow thwart, making the headway dip and stroke, with the other paddle.
The canoe was veered about, heading on its course as if by magic They were soon in full motion, but Wakeshma was surprised to find that it needed all his skill amid muscle to compete on his side, with the momentum imparted by the practiced strokes of Red Wing. Down the coast the canoe went flying with a velocity seldom witnessed. Long before the period assigned by the scout had elapsed, they were rounding in to the mouth of the Kalamazoo. Up and around the Ox-bow-bend they went with unabated speed.
Red Wing cast an occasional glance of wonder at the lofty conical sand hill known as "Bald Eagle," around which they were circling. Then came the expanse of the small inland lake and Saugatuck was lying before them on its margin. The scout knew the wigwam usually occupied by Wakazoo in his periodical visits to that portion of his tribe. Towards the landing near it he directed their course.
Whilst making their canoe fast after stepping ashore, Lynx Eye, one of the three favorite scouts of the old chief espied Wakeshma. They had been former friends and associate scouts on the war path. As the two met with a cordial greeting, inquiry was made for the chief. Lynx Eye who, although a dwarf in height, was yet active, pointing to a group a few rods distant, volunteered to notify the chief of their presence.
Shortly thereafter a half score of persons were seen advancing, foremost of whom, with beaming faces and joyous step, came Dead Shot and his wife, Mishawaha.
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They were the remaining two of the three favorite scouts of Wakazoo. Dead Shot was a young pale-face hunter, whilst his wife was a Shawnee of pure and noble blood, being the daughter of old Elkhart, head chief of the nation. She had been discarded by her father and the tribe for loving and marrying Dead Shot.
The two warmly greeted Wakeshma, with whom they had been associates on the war-path also. As their greetings ceased Wakazoo arrived. There was between him and the Pottowatomie an old time acquaintance. The two met as tried and trusted friends. The Chief next turned his glance upon the stranger.
Thus far Red Wing had been standing studiously aloof. Now however as he met the eye of Wakazoo his whole demeanor was changed. Advancing a few steps he stood, confronting the old Chief, with quiet dignity. Then gracefully placing his right hand upon heart, with a slight inclination of the head, he opened the discourse saying:
"I feel myself to be in the presence of the Chief of the Kalamazoo Ottawas. I am Red Wing the Chief of the Sauks over the great lake at Green Bay. I came alone in the storm, me speak not here by authority of my people. Me speak not in their behalf. Me have a private errand and message to deliver from Red Wing to Wakazoo. There is the Sauk "totem" on my canoe, and there on the stern is the symbol of my name. Red Wing never speaks falsely. He now waits to hear from the Ottawa Chief."
Wakazoo was versed in the aboriginal lore, well knowing the devices, symbols and totems of the tribes far and near. He knew the relative standing and the names of their Chiefs. He was also an adept in the science of physiognomy, seldom failing to form a just estimate of any interlocutor. He was most favorably
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impressed by the evident sincerity of Red Wing. He admired his calm noble demeanor.
Slowly elevating his right hand before him with the open palm upward, he courteously addressed the stranger.
The chief, Red Wing, is welcome, Wakazoo trusts his honor and believes his words. He will give him promptly the interview he craves. Of the time and place the chief will be notified. Lynx Eye will see that Red Wing and Wakeshma are suitably entertained." Thus saying and bowing he turned and moved away.
In the course of that same evening after supper was ended, the two chiefs were in private conference for over two hours apart from all others.
During that interview the Sauk related all that pertained to his own fortunes. He also related what had transpired at the council of the Sauks, Foxes and Chippewas, then recently held at Green Bay. The dissatisfaction of the Sauks and Chippewas both, with their present respective regions was already well known to Wakazoo. He was thus measurably prepared to yield full credence to the startling revelations of Red Wing. As they were about separating he
put the query to the Sauk direct:
"So you will hold to your purpose of renouncing your tribe and the Foxes forever?"
"As the sun is fixed in his course, rising in the east daily and dropping from sight in sunset land, so will Red Wing be steady to his purpose. The sting in his heart makes it very bitter towards the tribes over the big water."
"You will then surely accompany my scouts to the Manitous, and if need be to the settlement of the Chippewas you left before the storm?" Wakazoo enquired.
"Red Wing spoke his thoughts, and will do what he promised." The old chief replying, "it is well," bade him good night.
From the Straits of Mackinaw, to the Sault Ste. Marie, at the foot of Lake Superior, thence westward on both sides of that grand inland sea; then still onward to the sources and upper affluents of the Mississippi
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swarmed the wild Chippewa hordes. Restless, migratory amid warlike, they were turbulent neighbors, dangerous foes.
The Sauks and Foxes had long been aware that their territory was coveted by the Chippewas. The Sauks themselves had ever regretted their expulsion and forcible exile from Saginaw, and often cast longing eyes towards the western portion of Michigan then occupied by the thriving Ottawas.
To successfully guard against a collision between themselves and the Chippewas, and to secure their cooperation as allies, in sufficient force to expel the Ottawas from their section of Michigan, had been topics of frequent and earnest discussion by the Sauks and Foxes.
Overtures for an alliance had finally been tendered by them to the Chippewas, tending to accomplish results desired by both. Upon these overtures as a basis the grand council at Green Bay had been convened. Designedly however, it embraced of the Chippewa nation, only the chiefs of tribes residing between Lake Superior on the north, and the Straits, Lake Michigan and Green Bay on the south.
Red Wing had detailed to Wakazoo the objects before the council, and the results ultimately reached by it. A firm alliance had been formed by and between the tribes there represented, to wage war upon the Ottawas and to expel them from all their possessions in Michigan to some boundary line south of Grand river.
When this was fully accomplished so that the Sauks and Foxes could enter into full possession, then the latter were to surrender the entire of the Green Bay territory to the Chippewas. There was an added guaranty that by the joint forces of all, the Sauks and Foxes were to be firmly sustained in their Michigan occupancy for the period of a decade of years.
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Red Wing had also stated the additional facts, that fearing to offend the Hurons, and thus mass them with the Ottawas against their invasion, the confederates had settled upon the policy of avoiding the straits of Mackinaw entirely, in their line of active operations.
Now the Maniton islands lying a few miles out in the lake a little south of the mouth of Grand Traverse Bay would furnish an admirable point for massing their forces and for a base of supplies. Besides, a short distance southeast from them on the main shore were Sleeping Bear Bay and Point, with a trail thence east ward to the double head of Traverse Bay, at its southern extremity. This was at that date, the Grand Ottawa central point for all that region.
The Manitou islands were from their sterility and isolated position, named after their Great Spirit by the adjacent tribes. They thus became to be regarded with awe, as a sort of earthly tabernacle for the invisible One. The Ottawas avoided an approach to them on ordinary occasions. In fact, and for a similar reason, some twenty years ago, the Beaver island group north of the Manitous were selected for the temporary sojourn of a faction of the latter day saints under Strong, their gifted, but erratic and depraved leader.
Within ten days from the close of the council, the Chippewas along the north shore, were to send scouts to explore the region of Sleeping Bear Bay and the eastern trail. They were also to deposit supplies on the South Manitou island, by canoes. These were to be followed shortly after by similar scouts and supplies from Green Bay.
Wakazoo was forcibly struck by this formidable scheme, with the imminent peril it threatened to his entire nation. He felt to rely implicitly on the infor-
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mation. He was also deeply moved by the misfortunes of Red Wing and the unjust treatment he had received. He regarded the manslaughter as a case entirely outside the aboriginal law, of condign punishment by the next of kin of a person wilfully murdered.
He condemned the Foxes for their blood thirsty clamor. He despised the Sauks for their craven submission to the arrogant demand for the culprit. He mentally anathematized the Chippewa chief for his cowardly spirit and his wanton disregard of intertribal laws of hospitality.
But above all he was awestruck by the almost supernatural preservation of Red Wing through the perils of his wild ride upon the billows for the many hours of that raging storm. From his cool narrative of the event, he caught a glimpse of the inner spirit of the man. He saw in it something beyond the stoicism of an oriental fatalist. He found in it the self possession of practical common sense, which while quietly yielding to the inevitable dictated the pointing of the canoe with the storm, and lying low in the bottom to preserve its equilibrium.
The old chief mentally tracked his course during those weary hours, of wind, of darkness and of tempest. He realized his utter loneliness, tossed unceasingly onward over the waste of waters, now riding the top-most crest, and then thrust into the abysm below. In all this he found an iron nerve a reserved force, with all the elements for heroic achievement. In conclusion he found him deliberately tendering his services in aid of the scouts about to be sent on a dangerous mission and one full of personal peril to himself.
Late as the hour was, Wakazoo on closing his conference with the Sauk chief, sent for and had a confi-
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dential interview with Wakeshma. His impressions as to Red Wing, and as to his own line of policy, were strengthened by the views of the veteran scout. The latter frankly avowed his conviction to be so strong that, in the pressing emergency, he was ready to join the scouts for the long trip as a volunteer. The old chief gratefully accepting his offer, bade him adieu for the night.
Wakazoo forthwith despatched a messenger on the trail with the tidings to Okemos, chief of the Grand River Ottawas, then at Grand Rapids. Upon him he urged the duty, by like messengers inland and shore wise, to warm the tribes from river to river, down to the head of Grand Traverse Bay. He knew his own scouts to be staunch, reliable amid always ready.
By two hour's sun of the succeeding morning three canoes were laden and ready to leave the landing at Saugatuck. The occupants were four males and one female, all now dressed in the costume, and being able to speak the language of the Shawnees of the Wabash valley. To complete disguise, paint had been applied to the visible person of one, whilst another, owing to his limited stock of Shawnee words, was shrewd enough on occasion to cultivate the dodge of silence.
In reality the parties were Dead Shot and Mishawaha, Lynx Eye, Red Wing and Wakeshma. They were about to embark on a secret mission, and to outsiders, one they sought to make of unknown destination. The Sauk and Pottowatomie took the canoe of Red Wing. Dead Shot and wife used their own of similar model and capacity, whilst the dwarf, Lynx Eye, sported a one-man canoe of diminutive but admirable proportions.
The disguise of costume, paint and of dialect, was
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so perfect, that many of the Ottawas lounging down to the landing, actually mistook them for visiting Shawnees, about to remove to the head of the main lake, making the Oxbow circuit between Saugatuck and the mouth of Grand river.
There the modern traveler, by boat or railroad, will find the business city of Grand Haven. The two larger canoes with measured paddle dip, kept abreast of each other, but Lynx Eye, forgetting his stoical apathy in the exciting novelty of the expedition, took the lead of both, indulging in the boyish freak of alternately shooting far ahead, and then resting on his paddle.
Past headland and mouth of stream they sped gallantly on until upon their right the broad gorge and sand-drifted hills, disclosed the near proximity of Grand Haven. Here they rounded in both to impart and receive the news. At the landing there was no suspicion of their being other than visiting Shawnees. After a short delay, however, a canoe came from up-stream swiftly, rounding the elbow of the river and sweeping up to the landing.
From this new arrival, Seebewa, the famous Grand River scout stepped ashore. Glancing over the group of apparent strangers, as his eye fell on Lynx Eye, he identified him by form and feature. Like a wary scout, however, he gave no sign of recognition, but stepping a few paces away to a local chief, he informed him that the strangers and himself desired an instant private conference with the chief.
The latter, well knowing the trusty character of the scout, cheerfully complied with the request, forthwith inviting the six to his wigwam. There Seebewa greeted the wife of Dead Shot courteously, and then the four old scouts who had previously been together on the warpath, warmly saluted each other. Then Red Wing was introduced, and their budget of news was laid before the chief.
Okemos apprized of the national peril by the word from Wakazoo, had already despatched a trusty messenger inland to cross the Muskegon and Manistee rivers, well up at the interior settlement, thence on to the chief, White Water, at the head of Grand Traverse Bay.
To make sure that the intelligence went safely to its destination and having been informed by Wakazoo of the scouting expedition also, that he was about sending forward, Okemos deputed Seebewa to join them, publishing the intelligence at the mouths of the rivers north, and the mouth of the large bay above mentioned.
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As became his vocation the canoe of Seebewa was first-class in model, material and structure, being of equal capacity with those of Red Wing and Dead Shot. Having enjoyed an hour's rest, with a hearty dinner, the three canoes were now manned with two persons each, for Lynx Eye, leaving his own, shipped with Seebewa for the trip. On trial Mishawaha proved the equal of the males in her paddle practice.
In fact when at Saugatuck she insisted upon being one of the number for the exploration. Dead Shot, highly estimating her keen sight, ready wit, and forecast, did not seriously object. Again under way our voyagers dilligently applied themselves to the business then in hand.
Reaching the mouth of Muskegon river, the other canoe lay off, whilst Seebewa, running up to the interior lake, found a trusty friend whom he informed of the news to be by him taken to the Chief at the head of the lake six miles inland. Rejoining the other canoes they pushed ahead making Pentwater river at evening.
Stopping over night they communicated with the local Chief, who, to save delay in the morning, sent a runner ahead with the news to Pere Marquette river, a dozen miles ahead. Partaking of their breakfast at early dawn with a good relish, the scouts were moving again. As they passed Pere Marquette two hours later they observed the resident populace all astir, apparently excited by their news of the threatened invasion. Without veering from their course or slackening their speed, they arrived at the Big Sauble at noon.
Running up stream a short distance for the shade of a cluster of forest trees, Lynx Eye with Wakeshma kindled a fire to broil some fish for dinner. Seebewa ran up the trail a mile to an inland hake, where he
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found a settlement, and gave them the news. On his return he heard a rifle shot a short distance off at the right. Guided by the sound he came upon Dead Shot, who, wandering out with his rifle, had taken a deer.
The carcass was rapidly dressed, when each with a hind quarter reached the camp in season to add a venison broil to their bill of fare. Again they got under way, bound this time for the mouth of the Manistee. They rounded into its mouth as the sun was setting. Ascending the river over a mile, they reached a large settlement at the foot of an interior lake.
Tarrying over night they had an interview with two Chiefs of the Manistee tribe. As they neared the theatre of the threatened inroad, their news awakened a wilder excitement. Starting early the succeeding morning, with unabated zeal and vigor they pushed on steadily for the river "Au Beck Seik," or as moderns term it "Betsie river."
Two hours past noon they were at the mouth. Feeling a little arm weary and chest sore, by their protracted effort, they landed for an hour's rest. With appetites appeased by their accustomed broil of fish and venison, they were off again.
For Seebewa being familiar with the coast, from having previously traversed it, was now anxious to make Sleeping Bear Point before sunset. His hopes were practically realized. For before the gathering of the evening twilight they landed upon that point. Standing there just under the skirt of bushes, having first concealed their canoes, Seebewa called their attention to the various localities of interest in connection with their present mission.
A few miles out upon the water at the northwest he pointed out the south Manitou Island clearly out-
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lined to the naked eye. Adjacent to it, but separated by a froth, or channel of water, was the north and larger island less distinctly seen. Around to the right of their stand point, but jutting south into the line of the main shore was Sleeping Bear Bay sufficiently land locked to screen a fleet of water craft from a southerly or westerly gale.
Connected with the point they occupied and south of the bay was a narrow strip of table land. Adjacent to the latter on the south there is an interior lake, two or three miles across, round in form, excepting a long arm reaching out westward. Seebewa remarked, "around that inner lake you may be sure the foe will pitch their main camp. Me 'spect it soon will need sharp eye around it."
The scout resumed his general description. Off northeast across the bay is another point of land as you can see. Beyond that is another broad shallow bay jutting somewhat south. Then the coast range runs off northeast to Grand Traverse Bay. Within that on west side, a half hour's walk from the point is a nice little cove, carved into the tongue lying between it and the main lake. It is a nice fishing place. Many Ottawas stop there. He closed by saying, "Me go there to night." "Me go to," spoke up Lynx Eye, "for two better than one in night time."
"Before morning Red Wing mean to circle the south Manitou." "And me use the other paddle," responded Wakeshma.
"That is the way to pair off," laughingly remarked Dead Shot, "for Mishawaha and I are dying for a star light peep at that duck of a lake Seebewa tells of back here at the south."
Reembarking and skirting around the point they
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made for the southeastern extremity of Sleeping Bear Bay. Here they landed, hauling their canoes under cover. All now stepping a few rods back into the thick timber, Wakeshma and Lynx Eye kindling a fire soon had them a warm supper in readiness. Some little distance back of where they landed they passed what seemed to be the principal landing, with a trail leading inland a point or two south of east. This, Seebewa informed them, crossed the outlet of the inner lake, amid then made eastward for the head of Grand Traverse Bay.
With their supper despatched the three parties were soon in readiness for their respective night excursions. Each pair looked well to their weapons as they were quite suspicious that Chippewa scouts might be lurking about. Seebewa and Lynx Eye made their trip and returned before morning, being by chance relieved from traversing one-half the distance. For as they reached a point due west of the cove inside of the Bay, where the village of Northport is at present situated, they fell in with a half dozen Ottawas who had been out some miles on the main lake, looking for schools of the Mackinaw trout.
To them Seebewa made known his news. They in turn informed him that they had seen in the distance west of them, two canoes pass from the north towards the Manitou islands. This was significant, and our scouts pulled back for Sleeping Bear Bay, with far greater speed than they had left it. At the same time, with hasty jerks of the paddle, the Ottawas were making quick time with their news for the local chief.
Upon their arrival at the South Manitou, Red Wing and Wakeshma concluded to make its circuit by the west. With steady, but noiseless stroke, they pulled along, glancing at beach and bank, shrub and tree.
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Reaching the channel between the islands, they turned in and traversed a part of its length. Here their paddle strokes together ceased. Both at the same instant detected signs of a recent landing.
Stirred by a common impulse, they put their canoe about, retreating to the entrance of the channel. Landing and concealing the canoe they crept noiselessly back to the marks previously seen. There they made a careful interior circuit. They thus became convinced that no one had passed inland.
Then by exploring inside of the semicircle they had traced, they came upon a deposit or "cache" of dried meat and fish. The quantity was too large for one canoe load. It was placed in a hole delved in the ground, lined with bark and covered with brush. It was evidently designed as a future supply. The men with their canoes were gone. Footprints and heel marks showed their departure. Wakeshma suggested that they might be on the adjacent island.
To this, in decided tones, Red Wing replied: "No; they are Chippewa scouts. They brought canoe loads to leave here. Now they have gone over to Sleeping Bear Bay, to look over the region and the trail. Red Wing much fears our scouts will stumble on them over there tonight." To this Wakeshma answered:
"The Sauk chief may lay aside his fears. Dead Shot is not a scout to be easily entrapped, whilst that young wife of his seems instinctively warned of any hidden peril. She will shun the snares of the most subtile."
"The Pottowatomie brave is wise. His words are hopeful. But I feel sure the Chippewas are there, and we must go." Red Wing rejoined.
Without further remark the two took the beach for their canoe,
set it afloat, entered, and within an hour were back to their first camping ground on the margin of Sleeping Bear Bay. The fire was undisturbed. Dead Shot and wife had not returned. Their canoe was there under cover. Both became quite anxious for their safety. Seebewa and Lynx Eye they did not expect for hours. But as they were discussing the situation, Red Wing made a motion for silence. His acute ear had detected a paddle stroke in the
distance. Stepping to the water's edge with his ear low down, he listened.
Rising again erect and stepping back he whispered, "A canoe comes from the northeast." Soon thereafter they caught the dim outline of an object well in shore, but this side the point of land in that direction. The watchers hauled their own canoe under cover. Noiselessly approaching, and stopping frequently to listen, the voyageurs ran up and landed. As they were about to haul their canoe from the water Wakeshma standing near, addressed them, saying: "Our brothers are soon back, but they are much wanted, for two are yet missing."
Notes were then compared between the pairs, embracing all that had been seen or heard by either since their recent parting. They then crept along the beach to the old landing. There by the glinting starlight they searched for any traces of a fresh arrival. None were discovered. Seebewa now suggested that, "a canoe could pass up the outlet of that inner lake. Red Wing replied: "Then
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the Chippewas went by the outlet and are now inside Lynx Eye added "Me see 'em much plain now. Dead Shot and Mishawaha have struck 'em trail. They're safe, only them hindered. That woman be sharper nor eny blood houn' on a scent."
This assured, they concluded to return to their temporary camp and wait for a short time longer. Much disquieted, there they remained until at least one hour past midnight. Then as they had risen to start in search, the lively notes of the whipporwill were heard back in the bush. Lynx Eye answered in nicely modulated notes remarking as he ceased: "She is coming now. Her has news. Them notes show it."
There followed a slight rustling of leaves, a parting of boughs, and the absent ones glided quickly into the circle. Dead Shot at once broke the silence saying, "We did not expect you so soon. Why have you made such haste?" Seebewa answered by stating the incidents of their trip, and Red Wing detailed theirs, both asserting their firm belief that the Chippewas were in the vicinity of the small lake. Dead Shot here nodded to Mishawaha who thereupon spoke:
"Our brothers are wise. Their suspicions are correct, there are four Chippewas in camp out beside that inner water. We found them stowed away near the upper end of that outlet. We crept along on the high bank and saw their camp below; count 'em there round the fire. Then we crawl to edge of bank and listen. To us their tongue was not known. We catch only few words. We only heard them say, "Sauks amid Foxes come in two days. Then all go on trail to Grand Traverse Bay."
"Dead Shot wanted much that we two make a rush to bind or kill them there. Me say, "No! Cause we
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want to find out what them know. We best go back to our brothers. Red Wing understand Chippewa words. May be he can get near to hear what they say. Mishawaha have another thought, she not tell it now."
The party listened with deep interest to her clear recital. The ideas suggested by her impressed them forcibly. A knowledge of the proposed hostile movements of the different tribes was of vital importance. The prospect that the Chippewa scouts would discuss, to any extent, the plans of the confederates, even if Red Wing could get within ear shot, was dubious. Finally Red Wing turned again to Mishawaha saying:
"The wife of our paleface brother shows that she is wise, and has much cunning. Will she speak the other thought she just now withheld from us?" Her eyes sought those of her husband, seeing his approval there she answered:
"I am afraid woman talk too much, but I will tell my thought. Wakeshma, Red Wing and I are not only natives, but we can use the Sank dialect, for it is the same with the Shawnee. Next day after this coming morning the Chippewas expect the Sauk scouts here. Suppose we all now move up around the point at northeast, till that time. Then we three come from Manitous as Sauk scouts to Sleeping Bear Bay. Next they take us to little lake for talk at their camp. Other three of us keep in bush near by. If they fail to discover our deceit they will tell us all. If they read our crooked ways, then we make sign, other three rush in, the six then bind the four. I have spoken my thought."
Her scheme was much admired and readily adopted. Launching their canoes they scud swiftly up around the northern point, whilst the darkness still lingered on
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land and water. When out of sight of the Manitou islands they went ashore, amid sought the cover of the timber. There spreading their skin robes each one now indulged in needed repose.
Waking before sunrise they made a fair meal. Lynx Eye volunteered to cross the tongue of land westward, proposing to himself there a double watch. One way he would hold the Manitous under his eye for any fresh arrivals. The other way he designed to watch for any movements of the Chippewa scouts in Sleeping Bear Bay. At evening he reported all quiet during the day, except that one Chippewa at two hours of morning sun had posted himself at the mouth of the outlet and there remained till late in the afternoon. By this information the party timed their canoe movements.
Next morning Wakeshma, Red Wing and Mishawaha at early dawn, passing over by canoe, entered at the east end of the channel between the Manitou Islands. There lying in wait, until full two hours after sunrise they emerged from the channel and made their way to the mouth of the outlet from the inner lake. Lynx Eye, on the watch at his previous stand point, saw the Chippewa at the outlet as the three scouts approached.
On their arrival the latter greeted the Chippewa in the Sauk language, which he but partially understood. Then Red Wing informed him of their passage, and that others were coming from Green Bay, using the Chippewa dialect. This satisfied and pleased him. He now readily led the way up the outlet, the scouts following him closely.
Arriving at the inner sheet of water all stepped ashore and concealed their canoes. Next they traversed a blind path a hundred rods westward. It ran below a bluff bank on the north shore, forming the out-crop
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of the upper table running thence to Sleeping Bear Bay and Point. They came to a cove scooped
in the bank, secluded and thickly canopied by clustered boughs of hemlock and spruce.
In the cove they found the other three Chippewas busily engaged in dressing and broiling some water-fowl for their breakfast. In an off-hand, easy manner, Red Wing led the conversation to the absorbing topic of the campaign. The plans for conducting it, the order of arrivals of braves, when to be expected, etc., were each introduced, at the same time hinting that they, as ought forthwith to explore the region and the scouts, trail leading eastward.
Thus without any damaging disclosures of his own, he managed to extract and absorb, like a sponge, their entire knowledge of the campaign and of the proposed field of operations of the confederates. One of the Chippewas seemed to be deeply and blindly smitten by the charms of the blooming squaw scout. He sought most assiduously to ingratiate himself in her favorable regards.
Mishawaha was neither a flirt nor a coquette. But with a shrewd eye to business, and the special object then in view, she rather encouraged his attentions. Ere long they were cosily chatting together in the Sauk tongue. She played her cards adroitly, managing to glean from him the real policy of the Chippewas in this war. She angled after their purposes towards the Sauks upon whom they were now evidently fawning.
Peering over the eastern bank of the cove were the other three scouts. They had followed the margin of the Bay to the outlet, thence up to the lake and along the bank of the latter, led by Dead Shot. Their place of espial was not within ear-shot
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but they could watch the acts and features of all in the group below.
As we have already intimated, the artful woman was employing her attractive graces and fascinating charms to lead the purblind Chippewa into most impolitic disclosures. She finally shrewdly insinuated that the Chippewas, with the advantage of closer proximity, might steal a march and take possession of the Traverse region before the Sauks and Foxes had time to arrive in force.
She expressed her surprise that the brave Chippewas would thus become drudges for their confederates, and stupidly stand to shake the bush for Sauks to catch the bird. The smooth sarcasm, like a barbed shaft, went home to its aim. The smarting brave, oblivious of both the occasion and his auditors, with heated manner and raised tone, blurted out his reply : "Chippewas are neither slaves nor fools. We blind Sauks and Foxes to help us. We want their country."
"Why then did you agree to fight for it?" Mishawaha inquired.
"We'll soon show you how we intend to use that bargain!" the Chippewa replied. "Three days before Sauks and Foxes come in force two thousand Chippewas will arrive. Then we march out on the trail, and strike big Ottawa settlement at the head of Traverse Bay. Then--"
"Chippewa scout big fool to tell the Sauk squaw that!" was the rude and stern rebuke, leaping from the lips of one of his comrades. Quick as a flash of light the entire party were on their feet. The last speaker resumed in resolute tones: "Me talk not till now. Me watch and listen. Only one of these speak good Sauk words. Her squaw is one great humbug. Me just now think how me see her once down to Saugatuck with pale face hunter. A few days since the Sauk council outlaw one Chief for murder. This is Sauk outlaw."
With the word he laid his hand on the shoulder of Red Wing. The web of deceit was rent. The treachery was fathomed. Eye now met eye in deadly hate. Mishawaha uttered the sharp bark of the coyote. It was echoed back from the verge of the bank, as Dead Shot and comrades came sliding down the declivity. They leaped to the side of their associates ere a blow had been struck. Red Ring, however, instantly shook himself loose from the Chippewa's grasp, whilst knives were gleaming in the hands of all.
Dead Shot and Lynx Eye both stepped in front of Mishawaha, thus excluding her from the fight about to
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commence five to four. But the next moment the males were evenly paired. For the first blow given was backhanded by a Chippewa. Quick as an electric shock, and equally unseen, that
blade pierced the right forearm of Wakeshma through and through.
The males were next paired off two and two, foot to foot, eye to eye, and knife to knife. All were skillful, muscular and brave. All were fine specimens of physical manhood except the dwarf. But in his case the shortness of his nether limbs was fully compensated by the length and suppleness of his arms.
Minutes of sharp encounter and desperate struggle succeeded. Flesh wounds were numerous and blood flowed freely. Yet neither pair had fully grappled. Seebewa and Dead Shot, within their stalwart frames and muscular power, repeatedly but vainly tried to close with their antagonists. The brawny Chippewas opposed to Red Wing and Lynx Eye as fruitlessly pressed for a clinch. In every case thus far the attempt had been foiled and the grasp adroitly eluded.
Wakeshma, faint from the effusion of blood, early crept outside that ring of deadly conflict to where Mishawaha stood watching. Intuitively fathoming his wants, she swathed his arm with a scarf she wore. Next she helped him back a few paces to where a surface rivulet ran rippling across the cove. She sprinkled water freely over face and brow. By lying on his chest he drank from the stream. Then she stepped back to watch the issue of the four duels in progress.
She found that during her temporary absence the tables had turned and the whole aspect of the tragedy had changed. Dead Shot and Seebewa had each effected a grapple, each crushing his antagonist backward to the ground. There, with knee on chest and knife at throat,
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they held their passive victims. Next Red Wing by adroitly parrying and then feigning a blow at the throat, got in a heart thrust, causing the life blood to gurgle forth from chest and mouth of the dying brave.
The knife play of Lynx Eye had been in the main defensive. Swaying his body from side to side, and seeking, apparently from his low stature, for upward thrusts, his play was seemingly for the vitals. His antagonist, being thus thrown off his guard, was fatally misled. For all at once the dwarf, bounding high from the ground, made a flashing sweep of his long right arm. Thus by an over stroke the knife was driven in haft deep at the collar bone.
Thus closed the fierce and deadly contest in that wild nook, on the margin of that placid land-locked sheet of water. The field summary and report are extremely brief. Of the nine combatants at the start two were dead, two were captives, and all were more or less wounded.
Wakeshma, by the bandaging of his arm and the reviving effects of the water, was on his feet again. The captives, true to their tribal training and the fantastic tendencies of the race, submitted to their bonds without murmur or struggle. They looked upon their probable tragical end with a philosophical composure near akin to positive indifference.
The scouts hastily buried the two dead men, after Red Wing and Lynx Eye had appropriated their scalps. The object of the scouting party in their reconnaissance was substantially attained by the information they had already gleaned. The scheme of Mishawaha had been admirably executed. The news of the enemy's movements would prove most opportune, and its importance to the whole Ottawa nation could not be estimated.
They resolved upon its speedy transmission to the
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four prominent chiefs. The purport of the message to be sent was that in three days time two thousand Chippewa warriors would be massed at the Manitous. Thence they were to be forthwith transported to the main shore of Sleeping Bear Bay, while their fleet of war canoes was to be run up the outlet and safely moored in the inner lake.
The Chippewas, under Negaunee, their fighting chief, were then to take the Grand Traverse trail, and by swift marches surprise and capture the chief Ottawa village at the south end of the Bay. The design was to slaughter or expel the resident population with White Water, their ruling chief. Then their fleet of canoes was to be brought around up the Bay, for further conquests.
Five days after their irruption into the country, two thousand Sauk and Fox warriors were to follow them to the Manitous and Sleeping Bear Bay. By their compact all their forces were to have been there united prior to any further advance. The intended treachery of the Chippewas was, on their first arrival, to steal a march ahead of their allies, capturing, and afterwards holding the key of the whole region.
To accomplish their work now in hand, the scouts must divide their force. As Wakeshma was disabled for paddle service, they settled it that he with Dead Shot and Red Wing should take their captives with the news to White Water, by canoes. In the meantime Seebewa, the forest queen, and Lynx Eye should return up the coast to Grand Haven and Saugatuck. On the way they were to notify Missaukie, at Manistee, and the chief at Muskegon.
Their plans being thus matured they proceeded with the captives to their last camping ground in season for
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an early dinner, using for the purpose the two canoes of the captives as well as their own. An hour had barely elapsed after their arrival before Mishawaha and Lynx Eye in their canoe, and Seebewa in his, started up the coast homeward bound. As the water was smooth they made a direct traverse for Sleeping Bear Point.
Time being now of priceless value to the nation, they kept moving night and day. They found at the mouth of the Manistee, a messenger from Missaukie awaiting their news. The same thing occurred at the mouth of each river, till they reached Grand Haven. There they parted company, the one canoe for Grand Rapids, the other bound for Saugatuck. The scouts were highly applauded by their chiefs for the marked success of their trip.
In the meantime Okemos and Wakazoo had collected each one thousand braves, as an advance corps on their respective quotas. The scouts had made an unparalleled run, reaching home in the middle of the second night from their noon starting. The next morning at four hours sun Wakazoo, with his thousand braves in staunch canoes turning sharply north from the mouth of the Kalamazoo river, swept gallantly down the coast.
As he came abreast of Grand Haven, Okemos with his fleet, glided out, having an equal force of stalwart warriors. Onward, in orderly array, they together pressed their way. Being provisioned with prepared food, they made unceasing headway down the coast until their arrival at Manistee.
There their news was both gratifying and cheering. The recruits from Muskegon, Pentwater and Pere Marquette rivers had joined the force of Missaukie at Manistee. The latter, with a consolidated band full
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fifteen hundred strong, had a few hours previously taken the up river trail. His intention was to go to the assistance of White Water, by seasonably heading for the settlement at Grand Traverse Bay.
Relieved from present anxiety by this intelligence of timely assistance at the point most endangered, the combined fleet ran bow on the beach for a night's rest ashore. At the starting hour the next morning, whilst the fleets were maneuvering into position again, Seebewa, the forest queen, and Lynx Eye ran up past, to lead the van. The chiefs had designedly left them at home to recruit from the effects of their previous exhaustive efforts.
But after a few hours of quiet repose Mishawaha was not content to remain away from Dead Shot at the front in constant peril. The other two veteran stagers could not rest in idleness during a stirring campaign. As one canoe reached Grand Haven it was joined by the other from Grand Rapids. At Manistee, as they unexpectedly ran up past the fleets to the van, they were loudly cheered. The veteran male scouts were themselves prime favorites of their tribes.
But the forest queen was their idol. Still in the bloom of her young womanhood—with the same queenly poise of the head, the same long, abundant hair, the same large flashing black eyes, the same faultless form, rounded limb, and graceful contour in motion or repose---the same fine features, with fresh, smooth, glowing complexion; and the same rich tint of the damask rose on the round cheek and moist pouting lips, as we have in other sketches described our heroine, whilst yet the Shawnee Princess of the noble lineage of Elkhart; the enthusiasm of the Ottawas would seem both natural and commendable.
We cease to wonder that those chivalrous braves, well knowing that, added to those exterior personal charms, she bore the impress of rich mental gifts, with the resolute will, the skill to plan, the hand to execute, and above all the dauntless courage to head where perils were appalling, should all but worship the peerless woman.
As their cheers subsided, silence was restored in the fleets. Not a sound was now heard save the measured stroke of many hundred paddles, as the canoes, three abreast, glided in lengthened lines over the water, running well in shore. In passing the inequalities of the coast line, the scouts ahead, as they rounded a point, would rest on the paddle to scan the new reach beyond. Then as if one hand moved, and one mind directed them all, each paddle in the fleets ceased from motion.
Mile after mile was thus traversed till the setting sun saw the combined fleet within the mouth of Betsie River. The canoes being safely moored to the shore, the whole force were busied in preparation for their food and nightly rest.
North by four miles from that river mouth, a point of land intercepts the coast view beyond. The region of the Manitou Islands is also thus hidden from view. Around that point the shore line abruptly trends off several miles eastward. The range thence north again is regular to Sleeping Bear Point. From the latter, back southward to Point Betsie, the entire shore line is laid bare to the eye, and from the Manitous as well.
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When the shades of evening had fully come Seebewa and Lynx Eye resolved to reconnoiter by canoe down to Sleeping Bear Bay. Starting with the consent of the chiefs, they glided rapidly down the shore line. The banks being high, steep and wooded, they were thrown steadily under their deeper shadow.
Their progress was without hindrance until their arrival at a point a mile west of the long arm of that inner lake we have heretofore described. A rivulet there found its way to the lake through a gorge in the bank. From that dark gulch the two cuckoo notes nicely modulated, now reached their ears. Their paddles in a breath were motionless. Again came those notes most naturally given.
Lynx Eye with equal skill responded. The form of a man was first dimly outlined, but growing more distinct as he cautiously left his hiding place. The scouts knowing their man, at once headed for the shore. As they came near enough, Dead Shot sprang on board, and with finger on lip pointed south. Silently they faced about and made a couple of miles on their back track.
All restraint being thus removed by the intervening distance they now freely conversed. Dead Shot eagerly inquired after his wife, and then for general news. When he learned of that force two thousand strong in the mouth of Betsie River, with Wakazoo and Okemos in command, his joy was excessive. He next informed the others that by a change of their plan he had remained behind to watch at Sleeping Bear Bay whilst Red Wing and Wakeshma conveyed the news and captives to White Water.
He had detected no sign of the enemy until that afternoon from the northern outlook. A large force
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had evidently come down the west side of the north Manitou, disappearing in the channel between the two. He supposed they would pass over that night and enter the inner lake by its outlet. One canoe with two men on board came over in the twilight, probably in search of their scouts.
Becoming very uneasy in view of the situation, he had walked up the lake shore with eye and ear open for any sign of approaching friends. Having detected the sound of their paddle strokes he had stepped within the cover of the gorge. As they came abreast he had resorted to one of their - customary signals.
Upon their arrival at Betsie River the three reported promptly to the chiefs. Mishawaha having watched at the landing, was rewarded by the embrace of her husband as he stepped ashore. Thence she accompanied them to the chiefs to hear their report.
Wakazoo and Okemos, after listening to the recital of Dead Shot, readily adopted his view, that the Chippewas, failing to find their scouts, and also ascertaining that the outlet passage was narrow, would only attempt the transfer of a part of their force that night. They judged that the residue would be withheld until the succeeding evening. Their own best course, therefore, was as to remain in Betsie River until the foe was ready to take the trail for the head of the Bay.
They would then move forward to the gorge where Dead Shot had concealed himself. There they would disembark, sending back their fleet of canoes by a small detachment to the Betsie River. Entering by the gorge the main force would make east for the inland lake, destroy the Chippewa fleet there moored, and then follow up on the trail. The band sent back with the canoes could return on the beach, and rejoin them before pursuing the enemy on the trail.
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Whilst these events were transpiring along the lake shore, Red Wing and Wakeshma had taken their captives by canoe up the Bay to White Water, reporting to
him all their discoveries. From the west side of the bay, from Elk Rapids on the east side, and from Little Traverse Bay, the old chief had drawn together one thousand warriors. After the arrival, but before the departure of the scouts, the southern band under Missaukie had reached that settlement. A force of twenty-five hundred men were thus gathered for defense.
To acquire a practical knowledge of the region, for their possible future use, the two scouts resolved to traverse the trail back to Sleeping Bear Bay. Leisurely pursuing their route, it chanced that they were on the trail the day after the night when Dead Shot and the others returned from the gorge to Betsie River. At evening they were in the vicinity of the outlet to the inner lake.
They there resorted to the utmost circumspection. They peered from the trail, one on each side, creeping forward, whilst critically examining every visible sign. Both discovered that many canoes had passed up the stream. From the tramping along the banks they judged that their ascent had been aided by drag lines held and used by men ashore.
Passing over and creeping onward, they both met on the trail between the outlet and the Bay. Screening themselves in a thicket, they hastily consulted in the fast vanishing twilight. Next creeping out to the edge of the timber they scanned the waters of the bay in the direction of the Manitous. At the east end of that dividing channel they dimly descried a fleet of canoes laden with men filing outward, steering for the outlet in the Bay.
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Wakeshma's wounded arm being a serious drawback on his progress in creeping, Red Wing motioned him to remain quiet. He then crept swiftly to a nook near the stream, whence he could hear and see what
was said or done. The leading canoes were shortly at the outlet. He heard the orders given and repeated to hurry up with all possible dispatch. The chief in charge fretted by the
delays finally warned the men that Negaunee, the chief of the expedition, required the entire fleet to be moored in the inner lake that night, as he intended to move out on the trail with his whole band at two hour's morning sun.
Having thus learned what he most desired to know Red Wing crawled back to his comrade. Their next subject of thoughtful inquiry was as to where they should find Dead Shot. They felt assured he would be on the beach south of the point, watching for messengers from up the coast. They imagined that, like themselves, he must have become anxious lest help should come too late on the lake shore end of the trail. They resolved to seek for him on the beach.
Taking their bearing by familiar stars, seen through the opening of the tree tops, they took a course nearly southwest so as to strike the lake some three miles south of Sleeping Bear Point. They had no fact on which to base their theory of the whereabouts of the scout except that his sagacity would prompt him to avoid any exposure of his person on the point, and his anxiety for news from the south would lead him up the coast.
Striking the beach near the gorge where Dead Shot had been concealed, they resorted to the various signals then in common use. There was no response. Restless and really dispirited they wandered on again, often
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pausing to listen. Finally Red Wing waded out in shoal water, bending his ear low to its surface.
There he intently listened for several minutes. Straightening himself erect, he waded back to the side of Wakeshma. speaking low at his ear: "They are coming. Me hear two paddle strokes. I'll try bird notes." He imitated the cooing of the ring dove. No response broke the silence. Wakeshma trilled forth the lively notes of the whipoorwill. Soft as flute tones over the water came the response as of a joyous returning mate.
Tremulous with excitement was the rejoinder of Wakeshma. Closing he whispered to Red Wing: "As I live 'tis our queen woman back again!" Sure enough Dead Shot and wife having fixed the spot accurately by the sound, run their canoe to the pebbly beach, abreast of them. They were so close that each party caught the outlines of the other. The two ashore stepped to the water's edge.
Dead Shot from the canoe spoke in his lowest tones:
"Other canoe close by. When it comes one of you, jump in each. We all go south for Betsie river. You have news of what we came for, else you would not be here." Red Wing answered: "Pale-face and wife good scouts, always right. Hist! There they come." As he spoke Seebewa and Lynx Eye ran their canoe up beside the other.
Wakeshma stepped lightly out in shoal water, and then on board the last arrival as it still lay afloat. Red Wing from where he stood vaulted on the bow of the other, gallantly claiming the paddle held by Mishawaha. With silent dip, but nervous pull, the canoes went skimming south for a couple of miles. Thence forward they took it leisurely and conversed freely. Each imparted to the others what they had severally learned during their separation.
Once more inside the mouth of Betsie river, the chiefs listened to the report of Red Wing and Wakeshma. They breathed easier at the report of the numbers collected at White Water's headquarters. They felt confident now that White Water and Missaukie would never allow two thousand Chippewas to reach and destroy that settlement. Their own duty was obviously to cut off the retreat of the enemy back to the Manitous.
To this end Okemos advocated first the destruction of the Chippewa fleet, where they would leave it in the inner lake. Then secondly, he favored a vigorous pursuit on
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the eastern trail. Wakazoo thought the destruction of the valuable canoes should be avoided. He was also inclined to await the return of the
discomfited Chippewas to the vicinity of the inner lake and outlet. The two chiefs finally appealed to Red Wing for his opinion. To this appeal he promptly replied:
"There are high and very steep hills half an hour's walk this side of White Water's village. The trail runs in a narrow gorge between those hills. You hold White Water to be a good fighting chief. He will then plant an ambush, and so station his force there, as quickly to send the Chippewas flying back on the trail. They think White Water knows not of their coming. Negaunee has more craft than fight in him. Him come back much quick for canoes to return to Manitous.
"If you follow, you will head him on trail, Chippewas then scatter all over the forest. If you let 'em alone they will come surely for canoes. If, then, you put them over on south side of small lake, fleet much safe. Okemos take him stand on east side of lake, spreading him braves a little way out on trail.
"Wakazoo place him band west between arm of little lake and beach of big water. Chippewas know White Water behind 'em. Them first try to go south on east side of little water for canoes. Okemos drive 'em back. Them rush over outlet to go round west end. Okemos form strong on whole outlet. Wakazoo drive Chippewas back too. Wait, then, till White Water come. Then him and you all push 'em out on Sleeping Bear Point, take many scalps."
Okemos replied: "Young chief, the plan is big strategy, much wise, very much crafty, but him sure. Now Dead Shot, how we best git there? What shall we do with our canoes?"
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"Let all go down the shore to a place I will shew. Land your bands on the
beach, and send
the canoes all back. Neither Sauks, Foxes nor Chippewas will find them here," was the scout's reply.
Wakazoo remarked: "These schemes seem safe. We'll carry 'em out. Now, Wakeshma, when we make finish of them Chippewas, where shall we fight 'em Sauks and Foxes? Me no hope can catch 'em in same trap."
"Wakeshma think one fight 'nuff at a time. Me first kill Chippewas Then take others anywhere 'em come.
"Very good," said Okemos. "Now what thinks 'em queen of scouts on that last query of Wakazoo?"
Mishawaka at once answered the chiefs:
"I judge the Sauks and Foxes will arrive about the time the Chippewas come flying back to the bay. If so you must fight all the confederates on Sleeping Bear Point." The discussion here closed and the parties separated.
On the following morning the canoes were manned and arranged in their previous order. Headed by the scouts, they passed out of Betsie River and down the coast. In due time the van reached the gorge previously designated by Dead Shot as the place for disembarking the men. The canoes accordingly approached the shore successively, as the warriors leaping on the beach were marched inland through the defile.
The fleet was then divided and fastened in groups for towage, being taken back by a few men and safely moored in Betsie River. The men dispatched on this errand returned by the beach, overtaking the main body on the north bank of the inner lake.
As the Ottawa force approached that north bank, advancing to the outlet, they found the region silent
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and deserted. The Chippewa fleet of canoes, however, were snugly moored on the north shore of the lake.
The scouts returning from a short excursion on the eastern trail reported that the full force of the enemy had evidently left in that direction.
The Ottawa chiefs next ordered the fleet of canoes to be transferred to the southern shore, a distance of a couple of miles. The men thus engaged after securing the fleet, returned by the east side beach. The two chiefs with the several bands, now took their respective positions east and west of that sheet of water. The scouts, for an outlook, were stationed on the bay and point and on the trail.
Upon the peninsula piercing Grand Traverse Bay for half its length from the southerly end, there had been great stir and activity since the first intelligence from the scouts. As the local braves, with the auxiliaries from the rivers further south arrived, White Water commenced drilling them for effective service, for either defensive or aggressive movements.
He called Missaukie, chief of the Manistees, into his private counsels, assigning to his separate command the auxiliary force he had brought thither. They threw a band of veteran scouts beyond the high hills and the gorge already described as being traversed by the trail leading to and from Sleeping Bear Bay. Next with all their force assiduously working, they threw a stockade across the trail and gorge, the barrier thus formed extending up the slopes of the adjacent but opposite hills.
Oblique openings were left in the barricade in shape for defense, yet through them affording easy access to the ascending trail and gorge. That stockade was near the base of the hills and next to the bay, with a limited level interval. The gorge was of considerable length,
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having several abrupt angular turns, thus excluding any extended view. No visible marks of their defensive preparations were left by the chiefs west of the principal barricade.
On either side the slopes were precipitous and thickly wooded. Along these slopes they disposed of one-half of their force, but well no, in parallel lines, extending nearly the length of the gorge. The remaining half was posted on the east side of the stockade and covering its length. Occupying these several lines and positions on the night succeeding the morning departure of the Chippewas from the vicinity of Sleeping Bear Bay, twenty-five hundred men lay on their arms in ambush.
They were silent but watchful. They were outwardly motionless, yet their chests were heaving, with hearts wildly throbbing. Their faces wore an earnest expression, and their eyes glittered under the pressure of feelings, outwardly checked, but surging within, it was from no sense of personal peril, or of shrinking emotional fear. There was no flutter of cowardly hearts, no wish to evade the imminent deadly conflict.
The feeling was one of passionate longing for plenary vengeance unmixed with any ingredient of mercy. It was a hungering desire to gnaw at human heart strings. It was a consuming thirst, to be allayed only by quaffing the purple life current, being near akin to the blood-lapping ferocity of the tiger. Often as the eye glanced up that trail the feeling was intensified and the wished-for moment still more ardently desired.
At the same hour beyond those hills, farther out upon that western trail, there was another body of men, two thousand strong, passionate and eager, yet widely differing in aim and character. With them there was indeed a similar recklessness of life and limb, with the same
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disregard of human suffering. But with them the dominant feeling was of bright hopes about to be realized---of exultant joy in the act of grasping a highly coveted prize-—a feeling in fact of conscious pride in the
triumph of craft and subtilty over a fancied but blind security.
Nearer and yet nearer they approached the descending but sinuous defile. They moved with stealthy tread, with closed lip, but observant eye, so far as the aid of sight could be invoked amid the darkness of night and the forest gloom. So often, however, had their advance scouts sent back the report "all safe in front," that those lengthened files of warriors ceased to pause and wait for their report. Besides they had some distance to traverse. Their design was to reach and storm the settlement at early dawn.
Thus, with their scouts ahead, but now regardless of their reports, the column commenced its steady descent, having fairly entered the gorge, onward they pressed without any interruption, or any visible token of an enemy's presence until their scouts had turned the last angular point and were already close upon the barricade.
A listening ear near by, might then have heard the twang of half a score of bowstrings, and a keen eye might have seen the Chippewa scouts dropping to the ground together, each with an arrow in his heart. A few moments more and the head of the descending column stumbled over those dead bodies. Their first startled cry of surprise was the signal for a wild up roar of sounds, with a magical illumination of the bottom of the gorge throughout its length.
The sound arose from a terrific war-whoop by the entire Ottawa force. The sudden blaze of light was from hundreds of pitch pine torches stuck in the ground at intervals near the base of the slopes on each side of the trail. The braves having this duty in charge, as they struck the lights, nimbly crept up those slopes from view.
Then came a murderous flight of arrows from unseen foes, plunging downward upon the Chippewas exposed in that line of light. No further advance was attempted. They were not fool-hardy enough to essay the scaling of those slopes on either side. They intuitively perceived that flight afforded their only chance from utter annihilation. As one man they faced about, and with surpassing fleetness ascended the gorge, keeping in the trail.
In point of fact, the lights set for their destruction aided their escape by making their footsteps sure. Flight after flight of arrows was hailed down upon them
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from the slopes, but with no certain aim as the objects were all in gliding motion. Those behind the barricade rushed in at the openings amid hotly pursued the fugitive body. The Ottawas on the slopes made what headway was possible in the same direction. When the Chippewas left the defile for the upper table land they were beyond any further
But the lesson had been too severe to lose its force, or allow their footsteps to linger in that continuous flight. They had lost hundreds of brave warriors in that defile slaughter, without a death's shriek or a scalp lock by way of reprisal. They had, to their cost, found the Ottawas on the alert, and in overwhelming numbers. All their ideas of effecting any easy conquest of such a people vanished at once and forever.
The Ottawas, after a pursuit of a few hundred rods, finding themselves distanced in the race, returned to the head of the defile, where the whole force was assembled as morning light had fully come. Not knowing at the outset how long their lying in ambush might be prolonged, they had been furnished with a liberal supply of prepared food. On this the entire host now made a hearty repast. They next appropriated the scalps of the slain and their weapons of value, then digging shallow trenches by the trail side, gave the bodies a hasty burial.
Whilst this was transpiring, White Water, Missaukie, and some minor chiefs held a brief consultation. The result was the resolve to march in a body to Sleeping Bear Bay, and to finish up the fighting at that end of the trail. To this they were strongly incited by the expectation of there meeting Okemos and Wakazoo with their bands. In two hour's time they were under motion in close order of march, with scouts in advance
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and on either flank, to guard against ambush, and to see that the enemy all kept the trail.
Other movements were at the same time in progress, and other evolutions perfected in different portions of the campaign field. Wakazoo took up his position previously assigned, to bar the passage of the Chippewas from access to their canoes. Between this line of occupation by Wakazoo and Sleeping Bear Point, the surface formation is of a novel character.
Bounded by the coast-line and running parallel there with, is an elevated ridge of a considerable length. On the water side the ascent is precipitous from the beach to the summit, being a sand exposure, destitute of tree, bush, or shrub. The top table is narrow but thickly wooded. The ends and east side are also on a steep slope, but covered with bushes, staddles and trees of moderate size. The altitude of the ridge exceeds that of any other uplift in the region, being a trifle over six hundred feet above the lake surface.
From the top of this ridge there is a charming view over the lake away to the Manitous, at the north, and the inland country east. As Okemos and Wakazoo assumed their stations, the scouts were re-distributed. Dead Shot, his wife and Red Wing, went up to the point northeast of Sleeping Bear Bay, to watch for the Sauks and Foxes at the east end of the channel between the Manitous.
Wakeshma was stationed near the trail crossing over the outlet, to bear news to Wakazoo of the crossing of the stream by the Chippewas; whilst Seebewa and Lynx Eye were to ascend the ridge and maintain a general outlook, both inland and towards the northern islands. After hours of patient waiting the second day Wakeshma espied, far away east, a Chippewa runner
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approaching. Concealing himself behind a tree close by the trail, our scout waited the moment for action with his tomahawk grasped in his left hand.
One leading idea seemed uppermost in his mind. That runner must never return on the trail with tidings of the missing canoes. Unconscious of his peril, onward came that runner. He nears the tree behind which his fate is lurking. Now he is abreast of it, next two feet beyond. Downward comes the weapon wielded by a skillful hand. It went crashing through skull and brain. The victim fell paralyzed, dying without knowing whence came, or who dealt the fatal blow.
The scout hastily withdrew the body from the beaten track, concealing it from view. Soon thereafter the van of the Chippewa band hove in sight. Wakeshma keeping himself screened by the bushes, waded the outlet and sped away with the news to Wakazoo. But he left many other eyes from their covert places fixed upon the coming foe.
Yet not a move was made. Not a bow was bent or an arrow drawn from its quiver. Onward still the the enemy came. But the first to reach the spot where their runner fell detected the gouts of blood in the path. A half score of braves sprang at once past by a few rods, whence they discovered the removal of the canoes to the southern shore.
Comprehending thus the presence of an enemy with the extent of their peril, they fled back to the chief. Negaunee felt that the safety of his band depended upon their regaining possession of the fleet of canoes. He ordered his lines to face to the south, and dash at double quick for the shore where the craft was moored. This brought them plumb into the ambush of Okemos' band. Terrific was the war whoop of the Ottawas, as rising from their hiding places, they poured in a united
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discharge of arrows at short range. Many Chippewas fell, but no chance was afforded for a second well-aimed volley. The survivors wheeled, fleeing with Negaunee at their head. They went not, however, across
the outlet, to turn the inner lake by the west, as had been anticipated. Their course was northward down the east shore of Sleeping Bear Bay. Okemos, fully persuaded that White Water would soon follow in
pursuit, on the trail, and thus intercept any retrograde movement by the Chippewas, resolved upon a novel expedient.
He determined to prevent the flight of the enemy any further north than the point they were now leaded for. With this view he led his band in a wild race obliquely to the right. He hoped thus to reach the shore of the shallow bay east of where the line of the Chippewa flight would land them. This feat he fully and successfully achieved.
Our scouts, outlying upon the point of land northeast of Sleeping Bear Bay, were unconsciously being imperiled by this Chippewa raid in their direction. Having no canoes within reach, they had gone up by land in the very route now taken by Negaunee. The latter with his band, if they continued their flight, would soon be upon them. The scouts at that particular moment were all absorbed by the fleet of canoes suddenly appearing in the easterly end of the channel between the Manitous.
The Chippewas, in their flight, when about equidistant between the mouth of the outlet and the point where the scouts were lying under cover, also caught sight of that canoe fleet. Rushing out upon the beach at the water's edge, they made all the demonstrations in their power to attract the attention of the Sauks and Foxes controlling that fleet up at the islands.
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The effort was successful as the resulting
movements indicated. The fleet was immediately thrust forth, hut heading for the point north of the band of Negaunee, but where our scouts were then on the watch. The latter now looking to their safety, glanced up the
bay as a way of retreat. They thus became aware of the hostile band directly in their pathway.
It had chanced that at sunrise of that morning a northeasterly gale had commenced blowing, steadily increasing in violence, until it had, at the hour the fleet put out, become a furious tempest of wind. The waters between the islands and the main land being exposed to its hurricane sweep, were tossed into frightful commotion.
The waves ran mountain high, and swiftly to the southwest. The Sauks and Foxes on board that fleet, two thousand strong. as they felt the full force of that wind storm, knew that their bark canoes would be filled and sunk lying lengthwise in the trough of the sea. As they struck out, therefore, all with one accord, except two canoes, turned their bows with the gale, and headed for Sleeping Bear Point at the south.
The Chippewas on the beach, unmolested by their enemies, remained intently watching the maneuvers of the fleet upon which all their hopes were centered. In the meantime those two canoes we have alluded to, carrying each a brace of braves, in utter recklessness, at war with every sane prudential calculation, maintained their original course eastward for the point designated. They manifested unusual skill and power in paddle practice.
Right on and swiftly they drove, even in the trough of the sea, holding their course, but drifting bodily to some extent southward. The scouts watched those rash adventurers, and their miraculous immunity from harm, with wonder not unmixed with awe. Mishawaha finally gave utterance in words to her swelling thoughts:
"No chance seemed left for our escape. The Chippewas hemmed us in by land. The fleet would have brought us only death. The breath of the Great Spirit has turned it wholly aside. Now his hand guides those canoes hither, to bear us safely away. Those rash men will live to land them on the beach."
Dead Shot and Red Wing looked at that dauntless woman in utter amazement. She stood proudly erect before them, all her features aglow with the enthusiasm of assurance rather than of hope. But when she shortly added: "Landing those canoes safely, their toils on earth will cease, for we must slay them," they caught from her the spirit and the full inspiration of that lofty abiding faith.
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Still onward came those canoes. They were seemingly upheld and driven forward by a supernatural power. Now they were
shooting and glancing in the shoaling water. Mishawaha notched her arrow on the string. Mechanically Red Wing
imitated her example, whilst Dead Shot brought the rifle to his shoulder. behind their leafy screen she spoke again:
"Let them perform all their appointed work. Wait till they land and beach their canoes. Then Dead Shot will take the right and Red Wing the left ones of the four."
Whilst yet speaking, those light barks shot through the surf abreast, and drove bow on the beach. When the keels ground upon the pebbles, the occupants springing out in pairs by their sides and grasping the gunwales, sent them firmly ashore. As those doomed men together straightened themselves erect, three missiles of death laid as many of them on the beach. Ere the fourth one had time for thought or action the bow string of the forest queen gave out a sibilant twang, the arrow laying him beside his fellows.
Dead Shot reloaded with despatch, but as his ramrod was pushed home, in its thimbles, Red Wing mastering the idea of Mishawaha, rushed to the canoes, exclaiming, "Shove off. Jump aboard and follow me for an offing and then south." At the word he seized a bow-stem and giving it a vigorous heave sent the light vessel afloat. Vaulting in, with consummate skill he steered well out to win a safe distance from that east shore surf.
The policy of Red Wing was two-fold. He sought to avoid the irregular tossing in shore, occasioned by the undertow of the waters. But his principal aim became apparent. He purposed, when coming abreast of
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the Chippewas huddled on the beach, to be beyond arrow range of them. The other two scouts followed him closely handling their craft with equal skill. They were now running parallel with the shore line, but forty rods out on the water. The band of Negaunee nevertheless raised a defiant yell, discharging a cloud of arrows.
They also had watched the eastward track of those two canoes. They had seen the inmates slain on the beach. They heard likewise the report of Dead Shot's rifle. Rumor had carried far and wide the deeds of the pale-face wizard of the Kalamazoo. But more than all else, one of them recognized in the leading canoe, Red Wing, the Sauk chief outlawed by his tribe. It was this Chippewa chief who had directed the arrow discharge, and who, at their utter failure to reach, fairly howled in a paroxysm of rage.
That recognition was mutual, for Red Wing knew the chief and in the bitterness of exasperated feeling unconsciously gave tongue to his thoughts, saying:
"Chippewa Chief! Cowardly dog! Him sent Red Wing forth to starve under the ban of an unjust sentence!"
His further utterance was unceremoniously cut short by the crack of the rifle of the scout. By the acts of the chief on the beach, and the words of Red Wing, he had spotted the enemy of the latter, and drawn upon him a bead sight. The Chippewas, unused to fire-arms, stood aghast at the fall of the chief, so far away from the pale face.
They were more fearfully roused into activity, a few moments later, by the war-whoop of the band of Okemos in the forest near at hand. There was no longer either indecision or hesitation among them. Down the beach of the bay southward wildly swept the band of Negaunee. Parallel with them, and racing in the same direction,
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but out in the timber, the band of Ottawas were at their topmost speed; out, tossing on the bosom of
the bay, the two canoes, with all the headway wind and wave, drift and paddle could give them, were wildly glancing up and down, still
forging ahead, but alternately riding the crest of a billow, and then plunging
into the abysm of the water trough.
It was felt to be a race for life by two of the parties engaged. Those in the canoes were doomed unless they could first make and run up the outlet beyond the reach of their foes. The Chippewas hoped to escape their pursuers only by a straight run to the outlet, thence along its east margin and that of the lake to their canoes. The Ottawas united in the race with the view of falling upon the fugitives up the outlet, and driving them across in the direction where Wakazoo was awaiting them in ambush.
Whilst they are thus flying over land and water toward a common goal, we will offer an explanation for the sudden appearance of one of those parties. Upon his arrival at the beach of the shallow bay, Okemos knew the Chippewas were further west, and that he had hedged up their escape east and north. He was in ignorance of the fleet of Sauks and Foxes at the Manitous. He believed that White Water and Missaukie were approaching on the eastern trail.
Hence he felt content to watch and wait. His quiet was unpleasantly disturbed by the first report from the scout's rifle. He felt instinctively that the three were in danger. The band of Negaunee had hemmed them in on that tongue of land. Their rescue was the first duty he resolved upon. His band were put in motion for the west side. When within one hundred rods of the bay the second rifle shot came from further south.
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Okemos at once veered from his course toward the sound. Hurrying forward another fifty rods, the
Chippewas were seen on the beach, but indistinctly by reason of the timber. The war cry and rush of the Ottawas was made to favor the imperiled scouts, of whose actual position in their canoes afloat they had not dreamed. It was thus that life race was inaugurated.
Owing to the gale the firm foothold along the beach was too much under water for use. The Chippewas were thus forced to run in the loose sand close up to the bank. Their progress was thereby much impeded. The canoes maintained their advance position, eventually entering the stream out of arrow shot of their foremost foes. The Ottawas, meantime, were quite as far in the rear of the hindmost of the band of Negaunee.
The canoes, owing to the contracted channel of the outlet, steadily lost headway in their ascent. Their foes, on the contrary, as they struck from the sandy beach upon firmer ground, came with accelerated speed up the margin of the small stream. The scouts discovered that the arrows sent by their pursuers came nearer and yet nearer to them. Now they began to fall around, and next beyond their canoes. Their peril became extreme.
Hoping to retard their hot pursuit and check the foremost, Dead Shot, dropping his paddle and seizing his rifle, faced about, and, pulling trigger, riddled the leading brave. As the victim fell, his comrades halted in consternation. But as that sharp report was still ringing, that forest canopy was fairly lifted by the appalling war-cry of the twenty-five hundred warriors, led by White Water and Missaukie, close at hand on the trail.
The terror stricken Chippewas were thus brought to a stand. But when the band of Okemos raised an
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answering whoop in their rear, the beleaguered foe faced west, and plunging into
the stream floundered across. Their start was now to join the Sauks and Foxes around on Sleeping Bear Point. But
while Okemos had already crossed the stream at its mouth. Thus by a shorter cut obtaining the advance, he continually deflected and headed off the band of Negaunee, south westerly in the direction of Wakazoo.
The rescued scouts seeking Whitewater and Missaukie as they reached the outlet, informed them that two thousand Sauks and Foxes were concentrating on Sleeping Bear Point. The two chiefs resolved to hem them into close quarters by a strong line drawn across the narrow tongue of land between the Bay and the main lake. With this in view, they struck their course northwesterly at a rapid gait, keeping steadily onward until they found their new foes hovering in their front.
From the central point attained by the joint forces, White Water next extended a line westward to the water's edge, at the foot of the north end of the shore ridge. Missaukie at the same time stretched his line eastward to the Bay. A most formidable barrier was thus interposed not only against any advance by the Sauks and Foxes, but equally forbidding any junction with them by the Chippewas.
The latter, weary and disheartened, hunted and driven southwesterly by Okemos, bethought themselves of the possibility of reaching their canoes by the western circuit of the arm of the lake. Having, however, made too much westing in their hurried march, they suddenly beheld the southern extremity of the ridge looming up before them. Veering off sharply to the south they advanced beyond the uplift. The sun far down on his decline yet showed them a full hour of remaining daylight.
To the Chippewas their way of escape seemed now open.
With hope revived, came a measure of strength renewed. Their steps were once more elastic and their speed was already accelerated, when a pealing war-whoop from the line of Wakazoo, right, left and center, directly in their path, brought them to an abrupt halt. This was the signal for a well aimed and deadly discharge of arrows.
Again the band of Negaunee was decimated by slaughter. Wheeling to flee, they were saluted by an answering peal by the band of Okemos not one hundreds rods north of them.
There was for this thrice decimated and demoralized throng but one last refuge left. The lofty ridge was there. To it they now fled as a final desperate resort. Up its rugged sides they climbed with that fierce energy born only of the last extremity of hope and fear combined. Higher yet they reached and still higher, clinging to root and shrub, and bush, until the last of that torn and shattered band, had crawled up to the summit of that elevated but narrow ridge.
During all the hours of that eventful day, Seebewa and Lynx Eye had kept watch and ward from that lofty outlook. They had been busy at the one end, or the other, often traversing the intermediate space. Many things they had seen distinctly. Others obscurely, or by glimpses caught in spots or opening vistas. Of their clear views were the operations of the fleet at the Man-
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itous, its attempt to cross the waters eastward, and then its helpless drift towards Sleeping Bear Point.
They had also seen the Chippewas huddled on the eastern beach of the Bay, and their subsequent race towards the outlet. Afterwards, they caught glimpses of their oblique southwestern approach, and of the more northern but parallel lime of the Ottawas under Okemos. Finally they caught sight of the lengthy and more numerous line steadily pushing their way towards the northwest, ultimately deploying, in a continuous beleaguring line across the narrow peninsula.
Treading swiftly thrice to the southern extremity of the ridge they had communicated their successive discoveries to a messenger of Wakazoo standing at its base. They were there to witness the onslaught of the Ottawas upon the band of Negaunee, as the latter fell into the ambush laid for them. Then came the head long rush for the ridge, and the scouts knew that its heights would be scaled.
With a timely effort their own escape at the north end was entirely feasible. But with characteristic devotion to duty, coupled with a reckless disregard of personal danger, they resolved to remain at their post, and in close proximity to the enemy during the night.
Selecting a low branching tree, with dense foliage, standing on the very brink of the western declivity of the ridge, they found, upon ascending it a few feet, a convenient hiding place. Here they sat till dawn, peering down into the darkness, whilst listening to catch some news that might prove of value on the morrow. But the Chippewas were too much exhausted to move voluntarily, and what of their talk they heard proved to the scouts an unintelligible jargon.
Meantime, with the two chiefs at the north. Okemos
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on the east, and Wakazoo on the south, with his line now drawn close up at the base, the
land sides of the ridge were thoroughly encircled. Night came, and with it an early meeting of the four Ottawa chiefs. The plans they devised will be developed as we progress. Hour after hour passed quietly by, with no visible movements by the Sauks and Foxes at the north, by the Ottawas at the base of the ridge, or by the Chippewas on its summit.
But with the first glimmer of dawn in the east, upon the ends and eastern side of the ridge, from beach to beach again, at intervals throughout the entire stretch, hundreds of small fires were lighted. There was an abundance of accumulated dry leaves and vegetable debris lodged at the base of the ridge. Those feeble, flickering, but luminous points grew steady, but as they gathered strength, suddenly a thousand tongues of flame darted outward and leaped upward. They were soon overlapping and igniting all intermediate spaces.
The entire land side of the ridge at its base was now environed and all aglow with a fervid fiery girdle, a continuous sheet of flame. Clinging to the steep ascent, upward it went, crackling and roaring and surging. Upward still it rose, searing, crisping and consuming all things dry, and all things green as well. Leaf and twig, shrub and hush and branching limbs, scorched and shriveled, finally disappeared in that ocean of flame.
Up the hill-side the devouring element went, throwing its blazing, flashing streams still higher, until the heavens glowed with the fiery illumination, and land and water were bathed in a flood of quivering brightness. At length the summit is reached, when, like as the piling waves of a flood overflowing the banks of a river
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sweep over the adjacent bottom lands with a lateral rush; so did the overlapping
flame madly sweep with horizontal flame and surge over that topmost summit table land.
As that lengthened lime of light in its incipient stage first threw its streamers upward, our scouts on that ridge readily fathomed its ominous significance. Sliding quietly down their tree body on its water side, they stepped over the fibrous verge of the ridge, upon the naked and precipitous sand slope reaching downward to the narrow lake beach. Here grasping firmly with the right hand, each his unstrung bow, and holding it perpendicular with two-thirds the length above the hand, they sat down for a sliding descent.
By striking the end of the bow ahead deep into the sand, and anchored by it, they could descend arm's length after arm's length, without increased momentum or accelerated velocity. Safely reaching the beach by this method, they ran south to the flank of Wakazoo's line of braves, ere the flames had climbed to that summit.
By similar means the Chippewas were, by the Ottawa chiefs, expected to seek safety on the beach. There, hedged in at both ends, White Water and Wakazoo, each with a competent force, were to advance and complete the utter annihilation of that section of the invading horde.
The victims thus summarily doomed were fully aware of the pitfall thus artfully prepared. They knew there was no slow and easy descent for them. They had remained perfectly quiet until after the escape of the scouts. Then in a body swiftly traversing the center of the ridge to within forty rods of its northern terminus, they faced toward the lake. In platoons of a dozen, in open marching order, at intervals of a minute between,
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the successive files stepped down abreast upon the naked slope of sand, and, sitting down, commenced their slide simultaneously in line, without let or hindrance of any description.
In that precipitous descent of six hundred feet, with ever increasing velocity, the flight might be endured with bated breath, and some probable abrasion of garments and skin. But how were human beings to survive the ultimate concussion with the horizontal pebbly beach. Those untutored savages were not inclined to solve for us that problem. By a simple and most ingenious evolution, they avoided its possible occurrence.
As each platoon in succession arrived within twenty feet of the beach, each man instantaneously pressing his elbows to his sides and his hands over his face, threw himself sideways at full length. The sliding motion was thus converted into a rotary one, with but slight abatement in the velocity. Over and over their bodies rolled to the bottom, across the beach and quite a distance in shoal water.
Here another change occurred in the kind and line of motion, not even dreamed of in the philosophy of those usually sagacious Ottawa chiefs. The sea created by the gale of the preceding day had now run down, leaving the surface of the lake undisturbed, except by the undulations of the ground swell.
The Chippewas thus reaching the water in successive platoons, headed and swam for sixty rods directly from the shore. Then wheeling squarely to the right they swam down the lake past the flank of White Water's line, and until they were abreast of the Sauks and Foxes. Facing to the right and swimming ashore they joined their allies.
This adroit escape of the Chippewas was doubly annoying to the Ottawa chiefs. They were thus completely foiled in their anticipated summary vengeance. Their imaginary hecatombs had slipped through their
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fingers. Not only so, but the material strength of the enemy was thus increased by the addition of at least twelve hundred warriors.
Now the Sauks amid Foxes had arrived at the Manitous on time, but had failed to find the supplies which the Chippewas were to deposit in opening the campaign. They also failed to discover either scout or messenger with news of what was transpiring on the main land. In this painful uncertainty they passed the night. Next morning, without waiting to send over scouts, they manned their fleet, determined to explore in full force. As they emerged from the eastern end of the channel, they met the gale and wildly rolling billows.
Orders had been given to return within, to await a change of weather. At that moment the band of Negaunee appeared over on the beach, wild with alarm for their safety, believing also that they had met with disaster or were beleaguered without canoes for their escape, orders were given to pass over to the peninsula they were upon. Finding this impossible in that gale, and equally so to make the channel again, they resorted to another expedient.
Skilled in navigating canoes, and adepts in calculating the drift of wind and current, their judgment was accurate as to the feasibility of making Sleeping Bar Point. Landing there, they first cared for the safety of their water craft. Next they dispatched runners, one up the coast south, and the other around Sleeping Bear Bay to the outlet. The latter saw and hastily returned with news of the band of Okemos crossing that outlet. The one bound south barely escaped the same band in the vicinity of the ridge. He, too, turning back, was driven over to the lake beach to escape White Water's extending line.
The next morning, when the Chippewas arrived in their camp, mutual explanations were demanded. Negaunee, the Chippewa chief, having failed in all his schemes, and seeking to avoid any disclosure of his intended treachery, remained silent and morose. The Sauk and Fox chiefs, suspicious that there had been foul play, ceased to question further, closing the council. Before the lapse of much time, their satellites had extracted
from the common Chippewa braves a detailed account of all that had transpired on the main land and trail.
The last-named chiefs were highly indignant at the treacherous schemes of Negaunee, and but for the perils into which all had been thereby plunged, they would have rejoiced over the losses and discomfiture of the traitorous chief. Had they not then have left the Manitou Islands, they would have forthwith abandoned the campaign.
As they were now situated, they were restrained by a certain wild, chivalrous feeling from departing in their canoes, and thus leaving their allies to a well-merited fate. Another consideration also weighed heavily with the chiefs. They were satisfied that their treatment of Red Wing had been wantonly unjust and barbarously cruel.
They knew that he was now with the Ottawas, and they were convinced that through him alone a timely warning had been given, and the whole nation aroused to meet the emergency. They were painfully impressed
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with the idea that by his agency all their plans would be steadily thwarted, and on their heads he would ultimately wreak a sure and bloody revenge.
No clearer evidence could be furnished of the fatalistic proclivities of the aboriginal races, than the fact that those chiefs notwithstanding their gloomy forebodings of impending disasters, were yet uninfluenced by any such personal considerations. They were not thus to be swerved or deterred from entering the field to which honor or duty now beckoned them. The behests of fate were by them never questioned.
Where life was to be sacrificed at the nod of fate the aborigines met the requirement with a firm step, or stoical composure and an even pulse. So in the present instance, inasmuch as all could not leave in the canoes, but those who remained must surely perish, they determined to stay and stand or fall together. Satisfied of their inferiority in numbers, they resolved to fight on the defensive, and to entrench themselves on that point in a compact area, by throwing up a breastwork of such material as they could readily command.
In the lapse of a few hours three thousand men were busily engaged on a line from lake to bay, about half a mile from the extreme point. Hundreds, hatchet in hand, cut up shrub and bush, staddle and limbs of fallen trees, placing them in line, windrow fashion. Others, with paddle blades delved and threw upon the crude mass, sand and earth, and gravel, whilst others still gathered and heaped thereon stones of moderate size, to give the barricade body and stability.
A few hours later quite a respectable breastwork, for their mode of warfare, was formed from beach to beach, and the bands were marshaled, being assigned their stations and commanders.
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The Ottawa chiefs shortly recovering from their disappointment at the novel escape of the Chippewas out of their toils, now calmly viewed the situation. They planned to hold the enemy not only to his present circumscribed limits, but to
prevent a possible escape to the Manitous by canoe. They understood that henceforth they were to become the assailants.
Whilst they were unanimously agreed on the adoption of the most vigorous measures with a short decisive campaign, yet their views were in decided conflict as to the means to be employed. The scouts had kept them advised of the movements of the foe, and of their construction of the breastwork. Okemos, with whom Red Wing had become a prime favorite, now proposed that he should be invited into the council, and his views obtained, without his being informed of the views entertained by either of the Ottawa chiefs.
The suggestion meeting with entire approval, Okemos was deputed to notify him of the wish of the council. After a brief absence, Okemos returning, introduced Red Wing with the accustomed native ceremony. White Water, as chief of the region now made the seat of war, by their rules of courtesy, presided over their deliberations. He briefly, but clearly, stated the situation and relative strength of the belligerents---the desire of the Ottawas that the conflict might be sudden and decisive, together with their apprehension that the enemy might seek to escape by means of the water facilities.
In finally closing his statement, White Water remarked that the council were anxious to hear the views of their guest as to the means best adapted to the accomplishment of their ardent wishes. Bowing courteously in acknowledgment of the compliment Red Wing modestly, yet with becoming firmness, replied:
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"Red Wing has thought of all these things, and of what ought to be done. Red Wing knows your
enemies. The Sauks and Foxes will stay and fight, with half a chance. The Chippewas will steal their canoes and flee, if the opportunity occurs. The Ottawas must
make the attack. It will be with great hazard and loss, me spect, unless made at different points.
"Red Wing thinks canoes in little water behind us, should be this evening run into the Bay. As fast as brought hide 'em in bush with men 'nuff to use 'em. When all ready on land, to make big rush before daylight, then run up canoes together and make attack on water side. Men fly quick from works to stop landing from canoes. Then you go over barricade and kill many. Your fleet can stop them from running away in canoes. Red Wing has spoken."
The members of the council were impressed by the tact and wisdom displayed by one so young in years. The scheme seemed not only feasible, but its success most certain. They were ready to adopt it, when Wakazoo, rising, stated that whilst he highly commended the plan, still, where so much was at stake, he wished the council to consult yet another person, whose ready wit and practical wisdom had often availed him in emergencies.
His proposition to invite Mishawaha before them received a cheerful assent. To her White Water again made known the objects and wishes of the council, and detailed the advice of Red Wing. She listened attentively, and as he closed she quietly remarked:
"The council does me great honor. The plan of the Sauk chief is good, but it is not perfect. Their line behind the barricade will be only withdrawn from one end. Their canoes being only at one point, cannot
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prevent escape by water. The weather will now be fine for days. They will steer in
any direction north, or direct to Green Bay. A thought occurs to me. You will say whether it be wise.
"Let Okemos, with his braves, carry out Red Wing's plan. Then let Wakazoo send back for our canoes, and as they come, his whole band can join them here at the ridge. At the set time both fleets move up and together attack on both sides. They will run up the canoes bow on, so the men can leap ashore. Then White Water and Missaukie may easily scale their works."
The chiefs, adopting the suggestions of both advisers as a basis, matured their plans for an attack at early dawn on the succeeding morning. In due time the two southern chiefs sent detachments to start the canoes forward during the early portion of the night. White Water and Missaukie were to get their bands well up to the enemy's barricade by midnight. When the Sauks, Foxes and Chippewas turned alike to repel the joint assault from bay and lake, they were to vault over the works into the area.
The scouts, with Red Wing, meantime held their own consultation, and devised their own plans for aiding in the final melee. They were aware that they must temporarily separate, for Dead Shot, Red Wing and Lynx Eye were detailed to accompany the detachment for the canoes in the Betsie River, whilst Seebewa and Wakeshma were sent to start those out of the inner lake, with the squad of Okemos. The latter brace, after seeing the fleet to the outlet, were to meet the others at the little gorge on their return. From the labor and hazards of that night encounter, Dead Shot thus planned to exempt his wife.
The transfer of those fleets by the fatigue parties
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was skillfully and successfully accomplished. They were placed under cover as near their respective points of attack as prudence would allow. The braves to man them were all lying close in their rear, by one hour past midnight, eager for the word to shove off and embark.
'When the three scouts with the fleet from the south reached the gorge, they fell in the rear with two four-paddle canoes, and headed ashore. As they had concerted, the other pair from the inner lake were there, and leaped aboard with Red Wing. They had no suspicion of the presence of an interviewer. But on the instant Mishawaha, with her rippling musical laugh, skipped from her concealment aboard with the pale face and Lynx Eye, remarking: "It was shrewdly done. You thought to leave me out of the contest. You ought to know that a willful woman cannot be thwarted thus. Where you go this night, I shall go also."
As it was no time for expostulation, Dead Shot gracefully accepted the inevitable, whilst Lynx Eye's dark orbs fairly danced with glee. When the fleet reached its temporary destination, and was placed under cover, the full corps of scouts, well in the rear, remained watching for the final advance. Being close under that end of the high ridge, the darkness of its shadow effectually screened them from any observers.
Lying there till faint streaks of light began to shoot up the eastern horizon, they saw north of them canoe after canoe shoved afloat, and their intended occupants gliding over the gunwales like weird forms from spirit land. They knew but too well the fell purpose of the hour to doubt that the hearts in those silent beings were warmly and wildly throbbing. They knew too well that the stillness of night, and the hush resting
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down on land and water, were about being rudely broken by the savage war whoop, and the air would lose its balmy redolence in the hot taint of human gore.
They beheld the body of the canoes moving northward. They, too, were soon in swift pursuit. All at once those lines of water craft facing to the right like a platoon on drill, were vigorously driven, side by side, bow on the beach. The scouts ran up a few rods well inshore, there remaining stationary, but still afloat. Instinctively they felt after every weapon to see that all were ready.
At a signal from Wakazoo, one thousand men as one struck the pebbly beach, whilst a thousand throats sent forth the fierce war cry of their tribe. An answering whoop came pealing over the misty point from the sturdy band of Okemos over at the bay. Together both bodies rushed inland to draw the foe from the intrenchments. Now the Sauks and Foxes deeming the band of Negaunee dishonest and treacherous, had placed them over on the lake shore in front of White Water, being thus the farthest removed from their own canoes.
The Chippewas failed to respond to the battle-cry of Wakazoo's band, remaining quiet till the latter had swept past them by a few rods inland. Then springing up with the chief at their head, they ran in line for the
Ottawas canoes, just vacated. The light had perceptibly increased. Red Wing knew Negaunee, and whispered Dead Shot that the chief was leading. Then he added: "Near enough now. You hold big chief sure.
We will send five more with him."
Dead Shot spotted his man, but as he pulled trigger five bow-strings twanged, and the six leading Chippewas fell to time ground. The crack of the rifle, with the simultaneous fall of the chief and five braves, arrested as if by magic every footstep in that band. As they thus suddenly halted. White Water's line leaped to the top of the barricade, Standing there for a brief moment, with the foe only a dozen rods in their front. Then a cloud of arrows went to the mark, and the Chippewas were again decimated.
Next Mishawaha led off another flight of five arrows from the canoes adding that number more to the slain. It was more than flesh and blood could stand. The Chippewas broke incontinently away to the eastward, running behind the Sauks and Foxes, but having Wakazoo and Okemos, successively, still north of them, and sorely galling them in their flight.
Their allies knowing their aim was for their own canoes just vacated by the corps of Okemos, on the
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beach of the Bay, lost all stomach for continuing the fight. They too had suffered severely by the crossfire from front and rear, and to which they were now steadily subjected. Knowing that the Ottawas outnumbered them two to one, they felt that their only chance was in flight. As the battle and the forces had all drifted eastward, the
Sauk and Fox bands suddenly broke westward for the canoes of Wakazoo.
A few moments previously, the scouts imagining the canoes on that side to be safe, little dreaming of that western rush of the Sauks and Foxes, had headed their own craft around the point to aid in repelling the raid of the Chippewas upon the canoes in the Bay. Those same Chippewas meantime finding their advance towards the canoes of Okemos hotly contested, veered, in a breath, northward, to the left of the band of the latter, and shooting past the line of Wakazoo, still west of them, found a clear passageway to the Sauk fleet, well up towards the extremity of the point on the eastern side.
At the moment of their shoving off, leaping aboard and heading north for the Manitous, our scouts, rounding the bluff point of land, found themselves in the track of the fleeing foe. Red Wing adroitly faced about, with Lynx Eye following, whilst Dead Shot nimbly re-loaded his rifle, having failed to do so since his last shot. The Chippewas in their blind haste, paid no heed to the scouts, who passing out of their line of flight were left unmolested.
But in escaping from one peril, and whilst attempting to pass again to the west side of the point they fell into another snare far more formidable. For in rounding that northern extremity back they were confronted with the Sauks and Foxes, now in possession of
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the fleet of Wakazoo, also bound for the Manitous and striking out for life. They had formed a half-score of successive short lines, perpendicular to the shore, following each other, at intervals of twenty feet.
The paddle-strokes of the scouts instantly ceased. The voice of Mishawaha was the next moment heard, as she spoke in the clear, firm tones of command which years before she had been accustomed to use as the Princess daughter of Elkhart of the Shawnees:
"We will neither yield nor retreat any further! Lash this pair of four-paddle canoes together by the gunwales! Then for a straight passage through that motly mass now approaching! We will divide them on either side, or ride over their canoes in our front."
These spirited utterances had the magical charm of inspiration for the scouts. Her orders were implicitly obeyed, and then those five men gazed up admiringly at the proud woman standing in their midst. With head thrown slightly back---with eyes flashing—cheeks glowing and nostrils inflated and tremulous; with lips unclosed, but wreathed up in a scornful, yet smiling curl; and with right hand extending horizontally as if to enforce her mandate; the spectacle she presented was truly one right royal in its majesty.
The muscular power of the whole six was next given unsparingly to their paddle-strokes to gain swift head way and a strong momentum. Red Wing desired to strike the center of the several lines, as they should successively collide with them. That was the customary position of the chiefs. Their double craft was given that direction by the scouts accordingly.
Red Wing soon espied, side by side, in the front line of the rapidly nearing fleet, the two principal Sauk and Fox chiefs. They had been the prime movers in
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his own condemnation and outlawry. His countenance was ligimted up with fierceness. There was a cold, steel glitter in his eyes. Yet his tone was strangely calm as he addressed Dead Shot, but loud enough for all to hear.
"That Sauk with the head-band and erect circlet of eagle's quills is for you. I will look after the one with blue fillet and drooping feather from the raven's wing. The rest of you will spot the braves on either side of the two chiefs."
When their double craft, now moving with great momentum, was within a dozen rods of meeting the fleet, at a sign the paddles were exchanged for their weapons. Following the lead of Dead Shot, those weapons were brought to bear, each upon its object. As the sharp crack of the rifle rung out, the twang of five bow-strings was heard. The two chiefs and four braves toppled over, some falling within and others without their canoes.
In the hundreds of those vessels that rifle report was heard, and the fall of the chiefs and braves was observed. A yell of mingled rage and terror burst upward from the throng. Then a wild superstitious dread fell upon all. They saw and shivered as they realized that the terrible pale-face wizard of the Kalamazoo was in their midst. Veering obliquely right and left of that demon craft thus freighted with doom, the advancing lines swept on and past. The warriors bending over their paddles with nervous jerks, were solely intent on making the open water beyond.
Gallantly the double craft held on its way, piercing and parting line after line of the fleet, as some sudden obstacle often divides into two side columns a wildly careering buffalo herd on the western plains. Finally, in the twinkling of an eye, Red Wing. stood erect, his
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whole frame strung with nervous tension, and his features all aglow with the white heat of passion. Seizing a paddle with a powerful dip and stroke, he shied their craft sharply to the left of their course, and drove madly at an enemy's canoe near by.
Fixing his glaring eyes upon the chief before him, he sent from foaming lips the sibillant words:
"Dog chief of the Foxes! You clamored for my blood in the council, feigning great love for the Cougar, whom I slew in open fight. You only wanted to put a witness of your cowardice in the Menominee war out of the way. You hunted me into banishment and outlawry!"
With the word, knife in hand, he leaped on board the enemy's bark, alongside of which their own was driving. As his feet struck the transverse thwart, his knife with a whirling, downward plunge, entered at the base of the neck on the left, fatally piercing the vitals.
Ere yet the quivering form had ceased from its convulsive spasms in the bottom of the canoe, Red Wing stooping, with his left hand seized the scalp-lock, then circling the crown of the fallen chief with the crimson blade still firmly clutched in his right, he wrenched away the gory trophy. With an exultant yell of triumph and a vaulting panther leap, he stood again with his fellows, on the double vessel, as they shot through and past the rear line of the fleet into the open water west of the point.
The movement—the deed, with its surroundings, had all been so wild, so irrational and so reckless—that the scouts had stood quiet with bated breath. The Fox warriors aghast and terror-stricken by this unlooked-for apparition of Red Wing, recoiled as from an avenging demon. They had no thought of vengeance. They
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made no effort to retaliate the blow. The extreme temerity of the deed furnished its own immunity to the actor.
The fit of frenzy passed off from Red Wing as suddenly as it had seized him. Once more calm and self- possessed he smilingly addressed the scouts:
"The burden is removed from my shoulders. My revenge has now been ample. Of those who thirsted for my blood, condemned me to death and outlawry, and in my extremity denied me refuge; six chiefs are now dead; two Chippewas, two Sauks, and two Foxes. The Great Spirit has heard my cry; I am content."
Without further incident the scouts landed on the point and reported their doings to the Ottawa chiefs who warmly commended them, adding an assurance of the high esteem in which they were held, and that their services were regarded as invaluable to the common cause. They also individually tendered to the scouts the right hand of fellowship, and in behalf of their respective bands offered them the hospitalities of their settlements and the freedom of their hunting grounds.
The Ottawas had lost in all only two or three hundred men, and those principally in the short, but sharp fight between the Sauks and Foxes and White Water's line after scaling the barricade. The chiefs were confident that the campaign was ended, and the scheme of a further or future invasion would be forever abandoned. They were jubilant over their brilliant successes, and the flattering prospects of permanent peace within their borders.
On looking over their present affairs and campaign position, the Ottawas found that with the canoes of Okemos still in the mouth of Betsie river, those of the Chippewas from the inner lake and the balance left
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by the Sauks and Foxes, they had a bountiful supply of water craft for all the auxilliary forces who preferred returning south by the lake.
During the day the dead were buried, and all arrangements completed for their departure. Upon the succeeding morning the various bands started for their several homes. White Water led the Grand Traverse bands over the trail to the head of the bay. The others, accompanied by the scouts, with Red Wing, made a pleasant return trip by canoe up the lake shore to their respective river abodes.
THE CHIPPEWA RAID ON GREEN BAY:
RED WING THE SAUK CHIEF.
We have elsewhere in our legends attempted a de tailed description of the Lake Superior region. We shall here content ourselves with a reference to certain points, giving their connections with the principal theater of the present story. But for a more perfect elucidation of the motives governing the actors in the tragic scenes we describe, we shall in this introduction, make mention of certain facts, which aside from their bearing upon the incidents narrated, might be deemed isolated, and misplaced.
South by east then, from Kewenaw point and Iron Bay, on the southern shore of Lake Superior, but some fifty miles from the latter, Little Bay De Noquet is found, being a spur of Green Bay and near its northern extremity. Into that Little Bay, and coming from the north west, the Escanawba river empties its fine volume. Passing the minor streams and traversing in a southwesterly direction some fifty miles down the westerly side of the main Bay, we reach the mouth of the Menominee, a magnificent stream, coming a long way from the north west, it serves, with its numerous affluents, to drain a vast area of diversified and very pleasant country.
Upon that stream, and in all the region bordering, more especially on the western margin of Green Bay, dwelt, at the opening of the present century, the Sauk and Fox tribes under a system of confederate government rule. The climate was milder, the winter snows
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less deep and lasting; and the larger varieties of game were far more abundant than in the more northerly Lake Superior region, where the fierce Chippewas had long been roaming denizens.
But notwithstanding their more desirable location as compared with the Chippewas, the Sauks often turned their longing eyes to the lower peninsula of Michigan, where their ancestors had been once seated. By listening to their glowing and oft repeated descriptions, the Foxes had become restless and dissatisfied also. Added to these sources of disquiet was the knowledge that the Chippewas coveted their land and were seeking an occasion for wresting it from them.
The evidence is abundant to establish the fact, that a great climatic change has occurred in the marginal belt encircling Lake Superior as well as east and west of the same. By some mysterious law of nature, the isothermal line across the continent has been gradually but surely deflected southward by whole degrees from the region of the Red River of the north to the Atlantic ocean.
In corroboration of this theory we will mention the fact, that numerous skeleton remains have been exhumed, immediately south of the trappe range we have described not only of different varieties of the deer family, including the spike-horn, the cariboo and the elk, but also showing that herds of buffalo were once habitues of the entire region. With the present rigor of tile winters, and the depth of snow annually and for months covering tile entire region, it would be impossible for them to move or survive.
Owing to the scarcity of game in that mineral region three-fourths of a century ago, it was designated in the vernacular of tile natives as "accursed of the
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Great Spirit." 'West of Green Bay and in the vallies of the Brule and Menominee rivers the winters were less severe, with annual snows of such moderate depth that game of larger varieties could not only survive but flourish.
The bands of Chippewas in their more inhospitable climate looked with envy upon the Sauks and Foxes, and coveted their more comfortable quarters. To settle the hostilities likely to arise between those tribes and to quiet any further dissatisfaction on the part of either, resort was had to frequent overtures and negotiations.
Finally a joint council composed of Sauk, Fox and Chippewa chiefs from south of Lake Superior had been convened at Green Bay. There it was proposed to cut the gordion knot of their causes of complaint and mutual repinings, by the novel expedient of a double shift of quarters. They entered into a confederate league, to wage a joint war upon the Ottawas of the lower peninsula of Michigan, and to thus summarily eject them from their possessions.
The Sauks and Foxes in a body were then to migrate to and occupy the conquered territory, thus leaving the Chippewas in full occupancy of all the Green Bay country. Of that joint campaign against the Grand Traverse Bay region and of its disastrous results, including the retreat of the allied forces back to the Manitou islands, we have given a narrative in a previous sketch. We there likewise described Red Wing, the young Sauk chief, as an outlaw from his tribe, carrying news of the intended invasion to the Ottawas, and otherwise aiding the latter to defeat the allies.
Our present story is therefore really a sequel to that narrative of the raid of the Sauks, Foxes and Chippewas upon the country of the Ottawas, and of the san-
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guinary conflicts around Sleeping Bear Bay, in the third year of the present century. In now attempting a short graphic account of the Green Bay campaign later in the same year, we shall trace homeward from the Manitou islands, the discomfited confederates. Our some what lengthy introduction being now terminated, we shall address ourselves to the work in hand.
THE CHIPPEWA RAID ON GREEN BAY:
RED WING, THE SAUK CHIEF.
The surviving allies of that ill-starred expedition, on mustering in the channel between the Manitou islands in May, 1803, found their numbers reduced to two thousand braves. Of that number barely six hundred Chippewas survived the casualties of that brief campaign. This handful of warriors, conscious that their intended treachery had chilled the hearts of their allies towards them, left tile island channel that night, clandestinely, for their homes. They left with bitterness in their hearts, and with a settled purpose of retaliating upon their allies for all their reverses at the hands of the Ottawas.
The Sauks and Foxes started on the succeeding morning for Green Bay. They were chagrined at the utter failure of their confederate scheme. Their golden dream of conquering and possessing the lands of the Ottawas in Michigan was utterly exploded. They were also depressed by gloomy forebodings of an open rupture between them and the countless hordes of Chippewas in the region north, and northwest of them.
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The head chiefs of the latter war-like nation had not participated in the recent league and hasty crusade against the Ottawas. When, therefore, the disastrous results of that crude undertaking reached them, under the false version and coloring of the Chippewa survivors, their indignation was fearfully aroused. They were led to believe that the treacherous Sauks and
Foxes had purposely delayed their arrival at the theater of war, thus designedly leaving the Chippewas unsupported, with intent to have them sacrificed.
Among the renowned chiefs of those northern hordes, thus misled and incensed, was Ke-way-we-non, on the southern central shore of Lake Superior. He was a chief of signal abilities, and evidently formed after a liberal pattern of manhood. Throughout their vast territory he stood both prominent and proudly preeminent.
With capacity for devising intricate schemes; with a wonderful facility of mental resources to either meet, or to evade an impending crisis; with autocratic power over numerous bands of the nation; and with a reputation for sagacity, united with a personal popularity among the other chiefs, seldom equalled, he was a friend to be ardently desired, and an enemy to be dreaded.
He coveted for his people the region occupied by the Sauks and Foxes around Green Bay and on the Menominee. An occasion for a rupture with the latter was now opportunely offered. With a little skillful manipulation of facts, a most forcible appeal could be made to the interests, passions and prejudices of the Chippewa nation. He devised and concocted what was to be said. Then instructing his messengers until they were well posted in their role, he despatched to the chiefs north, south and west of the great Lake, his message.
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The result was a full consent from each to furnish their quotas for a united force capable of effecting the utter annihilation of the Sauks and Foxes in a single campaign. With his characteristic tact and energy, in despatching business and marshalling men, his preparations were by the first of August, so far advanced, and
his plans so nearly matured, that Ke-way-we-non began to tighten his boa-constrictor folds around the tribes he had doomed.
He was in fact at that date actively massing five thousand warriors from the northern and western shores of the lake at the mouth of the Montreal river west of the Porcupine Mountains, and five thousand more of his own braves at the mouth of the Ontonagon river, on the southern shore of the lake, east of the mountains last named.
A further levy of five thousand were in camp on the north shore of Lake Michigan west of the Mackinaw Straits, destined to enter Green Bay with a fleet of canoes. The other two divisions would cross the upper peninsular by separate routes, falling upon settlements inland and upon the river margins.
In now turning our attention to the Sauks and Foxes, we will briefly state, by way of explanation, that Red Wing had been a youthful chief of the Sauk tribe up to the period of the council at Green Bay, at which was inaugurated the then recent raid against the Ottawas of Michigan. During that sitting a violent quarrel sprung up between him and a young chief of the Foxes. Knives were drawn, and a duel was improvised, when Red Wing slew his antagonist. Throughout, the latter had been the aggressor.
Red Wing was condemned, by the Sauk and Fox chiefs, to death. He escaped eastward and was driven
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by a storm far south and upon the eastern coast of Lake Michigan. There he gave timely warning to the Ottawas of the intended invasion by the confederates.
During the succeeding brief struggle he was associated with the Michigan scouts, rendering important services to the Ottawa nation.
When the shattered forces of the Sauks and Foxes returned from that disastrous campaign with the loss of four of their chiefs, a council of the braves of both tribes was hastily convened. There the main incidents of the campaign were made known. The further facts were added, that Red Wing was a master spirit with the Ottawas---that he had massed them for defence, and had himself caused the slaughter of six of the confederate chiefs.
The speakers dwelt upon the deep-dyed treachery of the Chippewas towards them, and detailed the successive chastisements so richly merited by them, and so vigorously administered by the Ottawas. Next they adverted to the coldness evinced by the surviving Chippewas, with their stealthy departure by night from the Manitou islands.
A lengthy and anxious discussion ensued before that council. It involved the present unpromising posture of their affairs and the still more gloomy prospects for the future. The conviction fastened upon every mind that the Chippewas would soon wage war upon them in their homes.
Their discussions were productive of no satisfactory results. No measure of relief from threatened perils was suggested, and no plan for defensive war was proposed. Finally an aged Sauk brave arose, stating to the council, that he was about to speak plain words, and he hoped they would open their ears to hear the truth.
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"The Great Spirit" said he "is angry with us. His face is behind a cloud. He has taken wisdom from our councils, courage from our hearts, and valor from our arms. He has turned our selfish and
unjust schemes into foolishness, and our cowardice and cruelty into swift punishment. In fact we now know he has constituted our victim both judge and executioner. We had a chief, young in years but sagacious in council, and brave in fight,
he entreated us to abandon the unjust war upon the Ottawas. He urged upon us the danger of any alliance with the unscrupulous Chippewas. We refused to listen to his entreaties or expostulations. We ridiculed his apprehensions, and encouraged the chief, Cougar, to villify and abuse him. When he stood up in
self-defence, the Cougar, knife in hand, sought his life, with deadly thrust. Then because with exceeding skill he parried that blow, and struck down that brutal assailant, we sentenced him to death, and on his escape we outlawed him.
"From that day the face of the Great Spirit has been withdrawn. He will never own or shield us again,. until we own our fault, and repair the injustice." As his voice ceased, the stillness of the charnel house pervaded the assembly. At length another brave of the Fox tribe rising said:
"I honor the man who has the boldness to speak such unwelcome truths to a council like this. I admire the wisdom that can so clearly trace our misadventures back to our misdeeds. Will the brave inform us how we can repair our grievous fault?" Thus questioned the aged brave again rising, replied:
"The reparation required at our hands is such as we have power to make. The Great Spirit gave us the young chief full of wisdom and courage, for our coun-
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sel and leader. He must be recalled. The sentence of death was both cowardly and against the law of all the aboriginal
tribes, it must be revoked. The decree of outlawry for his escape from a nest of scorpions was simply an outrage. It must be annulled.
"We have now no chief with the ability to lead us into the path of safety. We must elect Red Wing to fill the vacancy. Then send an embassy to notify him of what we have done, and to invite him to return with honor. He is with the Ottawas on the river Kalamazoo."
The suggestions thus made in plain blunt words were heartily adopted and carried out to the letter, with all due formality. A deputation with the aged brave at its head was sent to the Manitous, and thence down to time mouth of time Kalamazoo, where they were received and hospitably entertained by the old chief Wakazoo, with whom they found Red Wing an honored guest. The latter listened with composure to the message as delivered by the envoys. At its close he asked for time to consult with Wakazoo.
The latter. although loth to part with a guest whom he highly prized, yet unhesitatingly advised him to accept this urgent call to a station lie was so eminently fitted to adorn. The advice of the sagacious chief was the more cheerfully acceded to by Red Wing, as it tallied with his own ideas of both right and duty. His answer to the deputation was a frank assent to their request.
On the following morning after taking leave of Dead Shot, Mishawaha and Lynx
Eye, the Michigan scouts, and bidding adieu to Wakazoo and his household, Red Wing embarked with the deputation, and without accident or misadventure reached Green Bay in due time. There he found the people laboring under wild excitement. Reports had just arrived of the vast preparations being made for war by the Chippewas. They believed their own region was to be its theater. Red Wing was installed with full aboriginal ceremonies, as head chief of both Sauks and Foxes.
His forecast and sagacity were soon manifested by prompt measures and efficient precautions. Two veteran scouts were sent across the country to the principal settlement of Ke-way-we-non. Other trusty envoys were secretly despatched to two weak tribes claiming a large extent of territory far in the interior of Wisconsin and south of the entire range of the Chippewas.
To those tribes he made overtures tending to a consolidation in the government and people of the four tribes, with a joint occupation of the region they claimed. His envoys found those two interior tribes more favorably inclined than even Red Wing had anticipated. They were most eager for the union, offering the Sauks and Foxes the choice in their proportionate share of the territory, for use and occupation, at the same time willingly tendering to Red Wing the governing control of the new formed confederation.
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Most anxiously now did the young chief await news from the Lake Superior region. But even before he could reasonably expect returns, making due allowance for the delays and the hazards of that method of
obtaining information, his scouts reported to him in person. They found no difficulty in the way of gleaning intelligence of that overwhelming league away up north, or of the destination of the array of warriors then
being mustered at different points. In the midst of the bustle of the camp, and by piercing to the lodge of the chief, they learned the exact routes by which the various divisions of that levy of fifteen thousand men would
penetrate the Green Bay region.
Red Wing now convened a general council of the chiefs and braves of both tribes. He laid before them the details of the invasion planned by Ke-way-we-non, with his gigantic preparations then nearly completed. The council was utterly dismayed by this overshadowing peril, threatening their utter extinction. The chief next submitted to them his negotiations with those interior tribes, and his grand scheme for the migration of their people to a region safe from those marauding northern hordes.
The transition, in that council, from dark despair to hopeful assurance was manifest and outspoken. Men breathed freely again, and chatted gaily over this new aspect of things, this rainbow tint to their gloomy for tunes. That council, without demur, adopted the entire scheme by acclamation. They were profuse in thanks to tile chief for his wise precaution, and his sagacious forecasting policy. They were unanimous for the prompt removal of their families and valuable effects.
The braves of the two tribes, however, besought him to grant them one favor. They petitioned for leave to
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remain in the region long enough to strike one terrible effective blow. They meant by it to memorize their fearful vengeance for their lost hunting grounds and homes. They all pointed to the special column of five thousand from the Ontonagon, and which the scouts reported was to be led by
Ke-way-we-non in person. This request of the braves for one fierce battle was in consonance with the chivalrous spirit and reckless daring of the young chief.
Red Wing rising, now thanked the council for their deep solicitude touching the common welfare. He approved of the conclusion they had so harmoniously reached. Then turning to the braves he warmly commended their high-toned spirit, and anxious longing for one retaliating blow. He pledged himself to lead them in a fight that should be memorable, and leave behind no stain of a craven, inglorious desertion of their native soil.
Under the systematic exertions of the young chief, the aged and infirm, the women and children, with their household effects and everything useful or valuable in every day life, were shipped from all their villages, on their journey to their new country. With characteristic shrewdness he planned to perfect this exodus with out leaving a trail for the enemy to find or follow. He sent them all by water to the southern extremity of Green Bay. Thence they passed west over a safe inland trail.
He commissioned the youths not yet trained for the war path, and the fierce encounter of battle, to keep watch and ward over the moving masses, and to care for the safe transit of their chattels. Proud of the honorable trust, not a single boy proved either negligent or derelict.
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Red Wing, thus liberated from other cares, now proclaimed to the tribes that he should make no levy or draft of braves for the further defence of the territory. But he stood ready to enroll as volunteers all who offered themselves for one standup fight with the band of
Ke-way-we-non, when it arrived by its river transit. Within twenty-four hours four thousand warriors presented themselves for that special enrollment.
Fully resolved in the contemplated desperate encounter, to victimize the master spirit of this Chippewa invasion, Red Wing now cast about for the means to secure that darling object. He bethought himself of two of the Michigan scouts with whom he had been associated in the recent campaign. He despatched a swift messenger to Dead Shot and Lynx Eye at the mouth of the Kalamazoo, with the laconic request and promise:
"Come at once, I'll see you back in a week."
His own scouts from Lake Superior reported Ke-way we-non ready to move. They detailed his starting time, the route he would take; and the points he had designated for nightly encampments. The route thus delineated was eastward by water from Ontonagon river past Kewenaw point to Iron Bay in the southern coast line of Lake Superior. Thence by portage to the Escanawba river. This stream, with a general course southeast, heads for Little Bay de Noquet, with which it forms a junction about midway of its westerly coast.
Up this river a few miles from its confluence with the Bay, there was then a large Sauk settlement, where the thrifty town of Escanawba is now situated. A couple of miles still further up that stream there is a sharp elbow to the west around a projecting promontory. This was the place selected by Ke-way-we-non.
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for landing his chosen band. From that bend a southerly course would bring him to the rear of the settlement below, in position favorable for an assault.
The surface formation of that locality is that of an elevated plateau, or table land range. It was then thickly timbered with hard wood and evergreen varieties. About midway between the bend and the town a small affluent of the river comes in from the west. For quite a distance it has a sinuous course in the bottom of a deep ravine; a few rods in width with precipitous banks sixty feet in height. These slopes were densely covered with trees, bushes and wild brambles.
On either side of the ravine, the river plateau made equally bold, high and abrupt banks, along the shore line with no favorable descent to, or ascent from the mouth of that stream. This ravine and stream must be crossed in their selected line of march by the advancing column of the Chippewas. The best crossing and fording place had long previously been marked out and used. A broad well beaten trail showed the chosen public track from the river bend to the main Bay below.
At that public crossing over ravine and stream, Red Wing resolved to make his final stand. Two days prior to the expected arrival of the northern foe, there was, of that entire settlement, literally nothing left but the deserted bark wigwams. On the day preceding his projected night attack Red Wing carefully arranged and posted his band of warriors on the southern verge of that ravine, but traversing the trail both east and west for many rods. Positions for groups of braves were also selected under cover, many feet down the declivity, as well as along its outcropping brink or verge.
That day also Dead Shot and Lynx Eye, the Michi
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gan scouts, arrived at Escanaba. The chief at once took them over the whole field of operations from the river bend to the
settlement, both by land and water. To them his entire arrangements seemed admirable. But. after seeing all, Lynx Eye, the dwarf scout, earnestly begged to be posted with twenty-five braves in the vicinity of the landing at the upper river bend.
Red Wing was at first surprised by the request, but catching the merry twinkle in Dead Shot's eye, he granted the coveted boon without question. The men were selected and placed in charge of the gratified dwarf. It was tacitly understood that Red Wing and Dead Shot were "to hunt in couples," during the coming night. The Michigan scout was fully persuaded that the special duty expected of him, would be disclosed at the proper time.
Profiting by the cunning device of White Water over at Grand Traverse Bay, in lighting the night gloom of the gorge for the better aim of the bowmen, Red Wing had caused numerous torches to be securely fastened to the ends of long rods. The latter were placed in the hands of chosen men the farthest down the bank.
These torches, at a given signal, were to be lighted. and thrust out clear of the bushes, thus illuminating both the bottom and sides of the ravine. All things were placed in readiness to receive the foe by' midnight. Lynx Eye, up at the bend, was also posted, watching and waiting. He had skillfully selected his concealed position a little up stream from the handing.
Immediately after destroying that settlement Ke-way we-non had planned to return to that bend for his canoes, and with them to pass down to the west shore of Green Bay. There communicating with the other divisions, he would direct in the further devastation of the country
energetic, the great chief had punctually made his designated stoppages each day, and at eleven o'clock that night his fleet was moored in the bend, the men being allowed one hour for a cold lunch and rest. Intending to return by morning the canoes were simply moored by stakes driven in the beach.
After the lapse of the hour assigned for rest, that corps of stalwart Chippewa warriors, five thousand strong, started out on the southern trail. A dozen braves were left behind to keep alive the fires; to procure fuel for cooking an early morning meal; and to watch over the safety of the canoes at their moorings. The detachment thus left in charge, first with dry material at hand, kindled a large number of small fires in the edge of the skirting timber. Next they collected an abundant supply of fuel for the wants of the morning, leaving a bundle by each of the fires they had previously kindled.
From their safe cover Lynx Eye, with his squad had watched the whole proceedings of the main force, as well as the dozen men thus left behind. The scrutiny of that outlying party was keen, and their interest all absorbing. At the close of half an hour the labors of the dozen ceased, when, first reducing all the fires but one, to a flickering light, the twelve reclined around the larger one thus left. There they proposed to indulge in a jabbering talk, with a smoke of the favorite weed known as kinnikinick.
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Lynx Eye now whispered his instructions to his followers to scatter and creep together again in the rear of the loungers at the fire. A short time afterwards they crawled up in a compact line at the left of Lynx Eye. Outside the circle of light they were shrouded in dark ness, whilst by them, those reclining about the fire, were distinctly visible. At a sign, each brave rose with Lynx Eye, to his knees, and fixed the arrow notch on the string.
As another sign was given, each bow was brought to its place and the object sighted. Yet another signal and the arrows in perfect unison, sped on their mission. Of all around that fire not a man survived that lethal discharge. The assailants heaping forward, secured the scalps. Next they unmoored and lashed the canoes in five and twenty groups. Each of the latter they attached to a leading canoe.
The braves, paddle in hand, jumped each aboard of one of the latter. Lynx Eye entered the leading canoe beside the brave. Down the river, but clinging to the west bank, they made their noiseless passage until their arrival in front of that recent village. There they separated and hauled the canoes ashore, well up on the beach. Then reclining in the shadow of the nearest wigwams, they watched their charge, patiently awaiting the further developments of that night of fearful slaughter.
In the meantime the column of Ke-way-we-non, three abreast, moved forward with measured, but stealthy tread. As best comporting with his dignity, power amid requisite safety, the head chief took his position at the rear, surrounded by his body guard. With the lapse of the first half hour, the van of the corps reached the northern verge of the ravine. The weather was hot, and in tile closeness of that trail, instead of a night breeze, the air was stagnant, sultry, almost suffocating.
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When the fresh smell of water came up to them from below, their steps were accelerated down the declivity. As rank after rank swept the water's edge, they passed not over, but spread out up and down the margin of the stream. The men threw themselves prone upon the ground, side by side, to slake their maddening thirst. The whole column, except a limited fraction on the northern bank, were thus massed in the bottom of the ravine.
At this precise moment, in the silence and solitude of ravine and upland, a hundred glazing torches were thrust forth from the bushes and thickets along that southern ravine slope, down near its base. They flashed upon the running stream. dispelling also the darkness from every nook and corner of the alluvion bottom. They lighted up the trail and sloping banks, piercing back for reds under the leafy canopy of the verge of either bank.
In that same instant of utter bewilderment to the invaders, the deafening battle cry of four thousand Sauk and Fox warriors rung out, filling the ravine, echoing and reechoing from its depth and sides, and over the wide stretch of table lands in all directions. Along with that fearful whoop those thousands of braves stepped into momentary view on bank and slope, as they delivered a plunging flight of murderous arrows upon the thickly clustered bodies lying prone below: The descent of feathery missiles was so in unison, so compact and so vast in numbers, as to obscure the light and darken the space in its transitory passage. Nothing saved the bulk of that crowd of human beings below from utter slaughter, but the uncertainty of the aim and discharge, at the instant that brilliant light flashed blindingly upon the eyeballs of the assailants.
As it was, many hundred Chippewas never rose to
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their feet from that wholesale butchery. Hecatombs of victims writhing together, were tossing in the convulsive throes of mortal agony. Gouts and jets; plashes and
pools of blood covered the ground and dripped and gurgled in rivulets into that flowing water.
The survivors of the now-broken column, springing to their feet, dashed impetuously across the stream, amidst a second discharge of arrows, piercing hundreds more of the throng. A rush was made by those still untouched for the trail up the southern slope. Red Wing now restrained further assault until the fore most of that dense mass were three-fourths of the way up the ascent.
Then the signal was given. A deluge of arrows from front and either flank went plunging down upon that clambering throng of humans. The foremost groups, transfixed by the flinty barbs delivered at short range, toppled backwards upon those below, until the crushed and overborne column rolled to the bottom in a helpless mass. Yet not altogether helpless; for agile as panthers, and as tenacious of life, the survivors strugling forth were on their feet and on a wild rush again.
This time, however, their footsteps were back over the stream heading for the trail up the northern slope. Ke-way-we-non had just pressed his way to the very verge of that bank, being in the act of peering down into the abysm. Failing at a glance to discern the extent of the carnage below, in the curt style of absolute command he thundered forth the order, "to face about and force a passage up the trail on the southern slope."
As those deep tones rung far and clearly out, the set time of his fate had fully come. Red Wing, touching the arm of Dead Shot, remarked : "This is what I wanted of you! Ke-way-we-non, the soul of
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this dire invasion now stands over yonder! How long will you permit him thus to stand unharmed?"
As Dead Shot heard the name of the haughty invader pronounced, the rifle came to his shoulder. A bead sight across the wide chasm was drawn. The trigger was pulled. Then as the sharp report echoed above and below, Ke-way-we-non, with hands wildly clutching at the empty air, plunged forward over the brink, rolling heavily to the bottom of the ravine.
His last imperative order was forgotten in that terrible moment. When the great chief fell, a cry of mingled rage and grief leaped from the lips of that demoralized throng. Next as their senses gathered the full import of that rifle crack, with its mysterious deadly effect at that great distance, the entire host stood shivering with a horrible fright. All the current rumors of the weird, unearthly power of the pale-face wizard of the Kalamazoo, came crowding upon their memories. They knew he must be present. They shuddered at his power as an avenging demon.
In wild tumult the motley throng dashed up the trail, passing the spot where their chief had so recently stood. They recked not the discharge of a fresh flight of arrows. They heeded not the fall of their comrades, or the decimation of their numbers. Up the steep ascent the living, scrambling mass still went, with struggling, panting leaps. Gaining that summit they flew into the darkness beyond.
The corps of Red Wing, unmindful of his presence in the delirium of their joy and triumph, poured in a living tide of bodies down the declivity, across the stream, and up the northern slope. In that hot pursuit they went whooping and yelling, as if the inmates of pandemonium had been given a holiday on earth.
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The young chief made no effort to check
that tidal wave of eagerness and passion. He was content to await their return. He believed the terror stricken Chippewas would win in that race, and wholly escape them in their canoes.
Now Lynx Eye after waiting for a time down at the settlement, became both anxious and weary of inaction. Leaving the squad of braves still in charge of the canoes, he started up the trail for the field of carnage "the aceldema of blood." He arrived just as the last of the Sauks and Foxes disappeared from the opposite bank, in swift pursuit. He reported to Red Wing and Dead Shot the successful capture of the fleet of canoes, with the slaughter of the Chippewa guard.
Dead Shot fairly rolled on the ground convulsed with laughter. Next springing to his feet he closely hugged the dwarf, in the exuberance of his delight. The chief, indulging in no such extravagant demonstrations of rapture, was nevertheless equally gratified by the feat performed. He was also much impressed by the bold ness of the conception, and the strategic skill evinced in carrying out the scheme. He commended Lynx Eye in glowing terms.
The chief then informed the two scouts of a special reason why Lynx Eye, although unwittingly, had rendered him a service which might prove of an incalculable benefit. He was now ready to leave with all his braves for their new country in the interior. He desired to do it secretly, leaving no trail behind. But he had learned that the division of Chippewas from the northwest would make their route by the three rivers, the Montreal, the Brule and the Menominee.
He further stated that the foe might even then be descending the latter river, west of where they stood. Now with the captured fleet of canoes, they could start that morning, pushing down the western shore of Green Bay, beyond the mouth of the Menominee. Thence they could advance to the southern extremity of the Bay, and there take the trail over which he had sent his people to the interior.
He next enquired of Dead Shot which he esteemed the most feasible route for the return of the scouts to their home. At the same time he remarked that the northern waters of Lake Michigan were doubtless swarming with Chippewa canoes. Dead Shot replied that he feared them not, but as a matter of choice he had fixed upon a return by the shore around south passing at the head of the lake.
"So we will bear you company," he continued, "to the other end of Green Bay. We may aid you in a canoe battle, if the Chippewas first reach the mouth of
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the Menominee. When we arrive at your landing, a few of your braves can tote our canoe over land to the main lake. Once there we will shift for ourselves."
The shouts of the returning braves far away north on the trail, here terminated their colloquy. As the warriors struck the north bank of the ravine, they became busy gathering scalps from the slain. Pushing down the slope, they traversed the alluvion bottom up and down the stream, and then the southern slope of the trail, laying all their trophies at the feet of Red Wing.
No personal distribution could be made, as no brave could identify a scalp as the result of his own prowess. Red Wing resolved to make the whole mass a national memorial to be kept in their council wigwam. He then learned from them that the Chippewas had made good their escape.
On reaching the landing, finding their canoes gone and the guard slain, they set up a wail of mortal terror. The next moment there was a wild cry. "The wizard !" Thereupon they disappeared up around the bend of the river with desperate leaps and break-neck speed.
Red Wing, censuring his men for leaving without orders, but commending their prompt return, now formed them in column of march, and returned to the deserted settlement. There they rested till daylight. Making a hasty meal, they went at once on board the canoes, and moved off in gallant style for Little Bay de Noquet. Thence they pulled steadily down its west shore, and that of Green Bay towards its southern extremity.
Red Wing warily approached the mouth of the Menominee river. When within a couple of miles he halted, for darkness to come, sending forward a couple of scouts
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to reconnoiter. The latter soon returned, reporting no enemy in sight. Time, afterwards, showed how accurate the calculations of the chief had been. For in the afternoon of the very next day five thousand Chippewas drifting down the river landed at its mouth.
Red Wing on the report of his scouts immediately started, running the mouth of the river under cover of darkness. He kept steadily forward until his men were landed and the canoes on the beach at the southern terminus of the Bay. He next directed his men to make a portage of all the canoes, save one, to a glen two miles inland, and there to carefully conceal them.
Whilst his warriors were thus employed, Red Wing selecting a canoe of superb model and finish, with a pair of paddles to match, sent four braves to bear it across the peninsula to the main lake. Shortly after, he personally accompanied the scouts, making the same transit. Standing on the shore and seeing them embark, he bade them bear his best respects to his Michigan friends, and with warm expressions of his esteem for the scouts, he bade them adieu, and retraced his own steps to the bivouac of his warriors.
The Michigan scouts accomplished their long trip pleasantly, and in due time, approaching the old land mark of '"Bald Eagle," rounded in at the mouth of the Kalamazoo river, and landed at Saugatuck. There his band and wife met in a warm embrace, and they received from Wakazoo and his people a flattering reception.
Dead Shot gave them a full narrative of the battle in the ravine, the fall of Ke-way-we-non, amid the retreat of the survivors of his shattered forces. He gave a. graphic account of the signal exploit of Lynx Eye in capturing the fleet of canoes, and of Red Wing's high
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commendation of it as being ingeniously planned and adroitly executed. The eclat of the deed placed the dwarf in
high feather with the masses who thenceforth treated him as a man entitled to their confidence and most respectful regards.
A few months later a cavalcade of seven Sauk warriors reached Saugatuck by the beach of the lake. They were well mounted, each one also leading a splendid, though small horse of native breed, caparisoned for riding in aboriginal fashion. Those envoys stated that they were instructed to present the compliments of Red Wing to Wakazoo, asking him to accept of one of the animals for himself, and then to distribute others, one each, to Okemos arid Seebewa; also one each to Dead Shot, Lynx Eye and Waukeshma ;—first of all presenting the spotted animal to Mishawaha as a mark of his high consideration for her beauty, intellect, intrepidity and personal worth.
Wakazoo, proud of his commission, executed it with all-becoming ceremonials. The presents were proudly received and fondly cherished by each recipient. On her favorite "Spot," Mishawaha often rode and hunted through the openings and over the prairies; ready on challenge to distance the more serviceable but less fleet and enduring steeds of Dead Shot and Lynx Eye.
'We will here advert again to the recent scene of warfare, and to other parties who were prominent actors therein. The next morning after bidding adieu to the scouts on the lake shore, Red Wing faced Iris four thousand braves resolutely westward, and ere long brought them to the region for their new homes and territorial occupation. There under the just rule and fostering policy of their popular young chief, the now thoroughly consolidated tribes, started fairly on a prosperous career, with new hopes and a more healthful vigor.
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Knowing that to command peace, his people must command the respect of the neighboring tribes, Red Wing resolved to punish all aggressions and indignities. After a few sharp conflicts he established for himself a reputation as a war chief of marked ability, at the same time his warriors achieved for themselves a character for courage and most heroic daring.
Thirty years later the Sauks and Foxes, under the distinguished chief "Black Hawk," took up arms against the Federal Government, committing many depredations among the white border settlements. It was unquestionably a war on their part of retaliation for glaring aggressions and injuries received at the hands of lawless desperadoes.
Recurring again to the scene of our story we remark. that on the same evening that the division of north western Chippewas arrived at the mouth of the Menominee, on Green Bay, a fleet of' canoes with another division of five thousand of their brethren from the Saut de Ste. Marie. (or Soo St. Mary,) entered Green Bay from the east, and crossing, landed on its west shore a few miles north of the entrance of the Menominee. Both bands remained quiet for the next thirty hours, awaiting news of Ke-way-we-non.
But on the second morning a detachment was sent from the river mouth to visit by canoes the settlement on the Escanawba, which was first to be attacked by Ke-way-we-non. On their way they were joined by a like detachment from the band last arriving.
Together they ascended Little Bay de Noquet, amid then the Escanawba, to that settlement. They found it not demolished, but utterly deserted. There were no visible marks of violence even. The bark wigwams remained standing. but they were unable to find a living soul to give them any information.
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Being uneasy and restless under the pressure of this wholesale desertion and ominous silence, they despatched scouts up the river as far as the bend. Reaching that point they landed where canoes were wont to be moored. Their eyes fell upon the skeleton remains of the guard who had there been slain. They clearly identified them as having been Chippewas, by the fragments of their garments still left by the birds and beasts of prey.
Again embarking, they returned, reporting at the settlement what they had seen. The leaders of that expedition finding the mystery increasing, finally resolved upon a thorough exploration. They took the trail north from the rear of that settlement, with all their men. They warily advanced to the ravine. They discovered at every step convincing proofs of the recent gathering of a large body of' men on the very ground they were traversing. Reaching the ravine and peering over the brink into the chasm below, their senses of sight, smelling, and hearing were shocked alike.
Noisome odors and offensive stenches filled the air, pungently piercing their nostrils. They beheld hundreds upon hundreds of skeleton frames thickly scattered up and down, over which beasts of prey were growling, snarling and snapping their teeth, whilst flocks of foul, unseemly birds were fluttering and croaking over the refuse and foetid remains.
With terrible misgivings that some awful catastrophe had overwhelmed lie-way-we-non and his splendid corps, they reluctantly ventured down the steep trail slope, waded the stream, arid searched along the bottoms for signs and marks of identification. Plenty of these were found, but all proved decidedly Chippewa in model and material. At last a brave at the base of the trail leading up the northern slope, uttered a loud cry of anguish, as rising up he exhibited a token. All present hurriedly gathered around him, recognizing in his hand a highly prized medal which
Ke-way-we-non had invariably worn upon his person.
Shocked beyond measure by this conclusive evidence of the death of the great chief, and the overwhelming slaughter of his picked corps; oppressed by the fearful mystery still hanging over the catastrophe; with the means by which it had been so sweepingly effected; and above all by the strange disappearance of the resident population, they hurried away from the ravine back to their canoes, and hastened to make a report at their respective headquarters.
This led to a conference between the chiefs of the two divisions. Ultimately they concluded to ascertain the true condition of the region, with the extent of its apparent desertion. Everywhere around the Bay they found the same chill air of desolation, and the same hasty abandonment of their homes by the former occupants. About two weeks later they were reinforced by
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an additional corps of five thousand warriors. They had been gathered far northwest towards the sources of the Mississippi, and had come by an overhand route.
Those three columns now systematically dividing the region, made a summary survey of the entire country theretofore occupied by the Sauks and Foxes. Finding it universally deserted they claimed it by right of con quest. Then happened an event frequently occurring in the history of conquests the world over. The crafty, ambitious chiefs there present, now that Ke-way-we-non was dead, seized upon the occasion for an open revolt from their respective home tribes.
By flattering allurements and golden promises, they succeeded in enlisting the whole fifteen thousand warriors in this flagrant rebellion. That portion of the braves having families in their far off homes were to be furloughed to return back, and in squads, or singly, to secretly bring away their families and all their house hold effects.
No other Chippewas were to be allowed a foothold in that region, except upon joining the league, by a vote in council for such admission. The chiefs then in command were to rule over them as a joint regency for one year, when a Head chief was to be duly elected by council. In the meantime the scope of authority lodged with the regency, and the rights of the populace were to be the same as with the home tribes.
Bold, reckless, even treasonable, as was this revolt, its aspect was changed by its success. For when draped in the costume and brilliant colors of victory, both the deformity and the infamy disappear from the foulest rebellion. It becomes a revolution a grand strike for independence, and an exemption from foreign dictation. In the present instance, the failure in attempting any sup-
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pression of the revolt, was the result of many causes operating directly upon the home tribes.
Without any warning of the gigantic secession, not only fifteen thousand warriors, but their families and effects were suddenly withdrawn. Not only had the master spirit of the invasion fallen among its first victims, but five thousand men were practically lost with him. This draft of twenty thousand had fatally weakened their home strength, and depleted their numbers. Besides the very best war chiefs of the nation were now heading the revolt.
But the main cause of the apathy among the tribes; the actual nightmare weighing them down with mountain pressure, was to be looked for in a wild, superstitious, but abiding horror of the region itself. They believed that the land had been guarded and defended by some terribly unearthly agencies. The Sauks and Foxes had not only been shielded from harm, but had been spirited away, by undiscovered paths, to regions entirely unknown.
A brave remnant only of the picked corps of Ke-way-we-non ever reached their old lake Superior homes. These not only indulged in the gross superstitions of their be nighted people; not only yielded implicit credence to the wildest legends of wizard and ghostly agencies on earth; but they invented and circulated a most marvelous story. They affirmed that the sole enemy they encountered, and the one by whom Ke-way-we-non and his thousands were slaughtered; the one in fact by whom their guard at the landing was slain and their canoes spirited away, was the pale-face demon and fire king of the Kalamazoo.
This crude invention; this incredible story spread on airy wings from tribe to tribe. It acquired additional currency and assumed the similitude of verity, by the
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cunningly devised reports of the revolting warriors returning on furlough. They affirmed that the host of Ke-way-we-non must have fallen by invisible hands. That on diligent search throughout the entire region they could find no resident man, woman or child, therein. Neither had they been able to strike any trail by which their exodus had been effected.
All this was doubtless true, but they never concealed the further fact that in the deserted settlement on the Escanaba, and on that trail to the ravine, and along its southern bank, they discovered conclusive evidence that thousands had been marshalled there in ambush against Ke-way-we-non in the fatal battle of the ravine.
No aggressive movements was ever set on foot to crush out that rebellion, or to reconquer and hold the Green Bay region. The braves of the league having returned with their families and effects, promptly entered upon the busy routine of domestic life, in this to them and their confederates, a new northwestern Eldorado.
A settlement thus made up of the best material of all the tribes, including their men of note, their fighting chiefs, and the flower of their chivalry among the warrior class, was reasonably bound to flourish and be come a tribe of great strength and renown.
But to this day among the roaming Chippewas north and west of Lake Superior, the tradition is rife, that the warriors of their people in the olden time, under the lead of the renowned Ke-way-we-non, away down at Green Bay and the south lake, once suffered a sore defeat and a terrible slaughter at the hand of the redoubtable Pale Face Wizard of the Michigan shore.
THE CAMPAIGN OF TIPPECANOE;
THE MICHIGAN SCOUTS OF 1811
Whilst presenting the present and succeeding sketches of semi-historic personages and public events, we disclaim in advance, any design to call in question either the authentically, or accuracy of any reliable record heretofore made. Our readers will bear in mind the fact, that we write from the aboriginal or traditional side of a peculiar class of old time events. From this novel stand-point of observation, new characters, secondary incidents, and modified aspects will very naturally be presented.
The historian ordinarily contents himself with brief sketches of prominent personages and stirring events. In his hurried glances at official despatches, or documentary files, many minor characters and incidents are wont to be, either wholly overlooked, or deemed too insignficant to cumber his record. Thus severed from the events around which they had clustered and served to illustrate, those minor characters and incidents drift down the current; which bears away myriads of other "inconsidered trifles," to blank oblivion.
The world is thus robbed of both light and knowledge. For whilst watching the present aspect of things we often discover in the minor incidents of life, and the acts of humble men, the central forces which shape public measures, and impart their true significance to passing events.
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As an instance in point, let us take a stirring military campaign1 with its intricate army evolutions and the final array of opposing forces for a decisive battle. Who has yet to learn the fact, that they frequently depend more upon the intelligence gleaned by scout and spy within the enemy's lines, than upon any brilliant forecasting strategy of the commanding general ? The aspect of a campaign with its final issue, are thus ma terially changed by efforts to counteract, or checkmate the plans of an adversary, surreptitiously ascertained through the daring intrepidity of the obscure individuals we have named.
Their calling is generally pronounced disreputable, and the punishment following on the heel of detection is the severest known to martial law. Yet the motive stirring the spirit, and nerving both scout and spy to encounter the hazards and perils of thus piercing an enemy's lines may be of the purest and loftiest character. That motive may be prompted by an intense chivalric devotion to the cause they have espoused.
If then, without plucking a laurel from the brow of the deserving, we can, from traditional sources, supplement our historic record, by rescuing from oblivion and garnering up the names and heroic exploits of a few individuals occupying humble stations in life, our purpose in these sketches will be fully accomplished.
THE CAMPAIGN OF TIPPECANOE;
THE MICHIGAN SCOUTS OF 1811
The Territory northwest of the Ohio river was originally an empire in extent and outline boundaries. It was
subdivided in 1801, and Gen. William Henry Harrison was appointed Governor over that portion embracing the present States of
Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. It was then the wilderness home of numerous aboriginal tribes. During the succeeding decade of years Gen. Harrison negotiated with them many treaties for the session of large tracts of land to the Federal Government. The primary object was
the extinguishment of the possessory title of the red race.
In 1805, the Territory of Michigan was carved off from the region first assigned to Gen. Harrison, and Gen. William Hull was made territorial Governor of this new allotment. The two new Governors retained their respective offices until 1812. At the latter period Gov. Hull was assigned to the command of the northwestern army.
Prior to the date last named, the duties of both Governors were extremely arduous. The scattered fron-
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tier white settlements were to be defended from pillage and massacre by bands of roaming savages. A few hundred soldiers occupying weak, isolated points as garrisoned forts, interposed but a feeble barrier against lawless invaders. They would have utterly failed to shield the defenceless, without the efficient aid of squads of volunteer border rangers.
The forts of Lower Sandusky, Detroit and Mackinaw were nominally, and in fact, the only keys of safety, against the hordes of northwestern savages in their periodical transit by canoes, through the wide stretch of the Great Lakes and their river connections. The two forts first named had no natural advantages for defensive operations, whilst their artificial works were of rude and weak structure, and butilly adapted for shielding the inmates from an assault on the interior or wilderness side.
Fort Mackinaw, on the contrary, had superior natural advantages in its position and surroundings. It was erected upon an island in the straits, having a fine rocky elevation of 150 feet. Posted there, a small force of resolute men, properly armed, provisioned and with adequate breastworks could have held their position against any array of assaulting or besieging savages.
About the close of the year 1810, the rumor became rife in the frontier settlements of Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, that a gigantic league was being formed among the aboriginees from the Lakes to the Mexican Gulf. It was understood to be similar in the scope and design to that projected by the renowned Pontiac, half a century before. The object of this confederacy of tribes was to wage a war of extermination upon all the western frontier white settlements.
These startling rumors fell upon the ears of many scattered and defenceless families like the sudden strokes
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of a firebell at midnight. They finally reached the ear of Gov. Harrison in a shape too authentic to be longer questioned. By whom, and in what manner the information was conveyed to him we propose ere long to relate. From the reports thus laid before him, the further fact became clearly apparent, that this formidable uprising of the native tribes originated in the ambition, tact and skillful manipulation of two chiefs of the Shawnee Nation.
Those two chieftains were the twin brothers, Tecumseh and Elsk-wa-ta-wa. The latter was more familiarly and generally termed "The Prophet." They were both endowed with mental powers and natural gifts of a high order, but widely differing in their outward manifestations.
Both were destined to exercise a despotic sway over the minds and passions of the masses wherever brought within the sphere of their personal influence. Both were eloquent in speech and action. But here terminated all similarity between them.
Tecumseh whilst looking forward with a broad far- reaching policy, was yet shrewd and subtile in his schemes, but openly and manly in their execution. His plans were vast in their occupation, whilst his strategic combiuations for their accomplishment, exhibited masterly mental strength and acumen.
The personal appearance and deportment of Tecumseh were full of the majesty, born of rich intellectual gifts. His manner of address was both graceful and captivating. His form and features were moulded after a fault less model of physical manhood. The eloquence of Tecumseh was, in its ordinary vein, both pleasing and seductive. Much of its power was nevertheless owing to his terse, logical reasoning by analogy and induction.
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Gradually rising in rhetorical display and impassioned manner, he finally swept his audience irresistably forward to his own conclusions.
The Prophet, in the ordinary intercourse of life, was cold, reticent and unapproachable. In his personal habits lie was an austere, abstemious recluse. Still the Prophet was an enthusiastic zealot in natural temperament, and a radical fanatic of his own volition. Made up by nature, habit, and inclination, of these ultra elements, the step was easy to a fancied special inspiration from, and direct intercourse with the invisible world.
He was illogical in argument, but the style of his rhetoric was both florid and diffuse. His public harrangues were surcharged with myths and fables, allegories and raphsodies. They bore a striking resemblance to the dark sayings of the Delphic oracle, and were susceptible of the duplex interpretation of the Sybilline Leaves. His manner of delivery was fervid and impassioned, full of frenzied vehemence and wild gesticulation.
And yet, this self-styled vicegerent of the Great Manitou, uttering his burning words, with dilated nostril, blood-shot eye, and foam-flecked lip, wielded a strange magical power over the untutored red men. His nearest historic parallel and master prototype, was Peter the Hermit, massing the warring and discordant elements of Europe, for a crusade to the Holy Land.
Looking back to that time of imminent deadly peril to the infant white settlements, dotted along the extended frontier line of our advancing civilization, we are forcibly impressed with the belief, that in the economy of Divine Providence, this fiery zealot, this fanatical pretender to special inspirations and prophetic visions, was assuredly set over against Tecumseh, to mar and check mate the comprehensive schemes of the latter, before
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their maturity, and to precipitate hostilities on so small a scale, as to be successfully overcome by a limited force of fronntiersmen.
Had a few more months been allowed to mature the plans of Tecumseh; to cement his leagues; to mass his warriors along his lengthened line from Mackinaw to Mobile; could he have fully arranged the time for a simultaneous assault at the hundred points; and then, woe to the land! There would have been, throughout our western white settlements, such a fearful massacre, such a baptism of fire and blood! Aye! Such a scene of universal desolation in the doomed region, as the sun in his diurnal course had never witnessed.
Having thus in a cursory manner presented a dim outline view of the situation with a meager sketch of a few of our characters at the opening period of our history, we are prepared to enter upon the details and preliminary steps leading to the short but decisive campaign of 1811, most signally and effectually ended by the battle of Tippecanoe.
Early in the month of August, 1811, a deputation of two Shawnee chiefs and a half dozen braves of that nation, embarked in their canoes at the southern extremity of Lake Michigan. They were bound for Saugatuck, an Indian village a short distance inland from the mouth of the Kalamazoo river. They were envoys sent from the Wabash valley with a message and overtures to Wakazoo, the aged chief of the Kalamazoo Ottawas.
Arriving at their destination they were courteously received, and an audience was promptly accorded by the chief. They professed to speak by authority of Tecumseh and the Prophet, but they had in reality been deputed by the latter alone, as the former was then
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absent at the south, laboring to win the Chickasaws to unite with the other confederate tribes.
The old Ottawa chief listened with marked attention to the overtures of his guests and to their plausible arguments in favor of a general uprising for the utter extermination of the frontier whites. Like an astute diplomatist, Wakazoa evinced no outward repugnance to their proposals. Seemingly coinciding with them in the policy of the movement, he plied them with questions so adroitly as to elicit not only the details of the general plan, but of the assiduous labors of Tecumseh for its proper maturity.
He ultimately drew from them the fact, that the Prophet was becoming impatient of the delay and anxious to precipitate the crisis. He next learned from their disclosures, that this discrepancy in their policy had already produced a partial estrangement between the brothers, so that with a little more strength the Prophet was inclined to imitate the slaughter with his battle-cry of "torch and knife," despite the opposition and restraints of the great war chief.
Wakazoo eventually dismissed the deputation with flattering expressions of his personal regard, and with the assurance that he would give to their important overtures his most profound consideration. His whole heart actually revolted against this atrocious scheme— this crusade of blood. He was faithless as to either the sanctity of the Prophet, or the fulfillment of his predictions. He at once penetrated time designs and fathomed the ambitious schemes of Tecumseh. He felt assured that the covert object was to achieve for him self a centralized government and a mighty empire in the broad Mississippi valley.
Of the chief, Wakazoo, we have given a full description in other traditional legends of Michigan. In those same sketches of the olden time, three other personages have figured largely as the confidential scouts and trusted messengers of the sagacious old chief. Of those scouts we have also given full descriptions, embracing not only their physical attributes and mental gifts, but their antecedents, their personal attachments, and their individual exploits.
Dead Shot, the leader of the trio, was of pure Anglo Saxon descent and about thirty years of age. He was an athlete in form, strength, and agility. He was a skillful and fearless scout, prompt to act, and ready in any emergency. He was the model marksman on the borders, as his name imports.
Mishawaha, his wife of ten years standing, was of pure Indian blood, and daughter of Elkhart, then recently head chief of the Shawnee nation. She was a gifted and beautiful woman of her type; of active, sanguine temperament, and with a strong proclivity for the chase, the trail, and the war-path. Under different auspices she would have doubtless have duplicated Semiramis of the North, or Zenobia of the Orient.
Lynx Eye, the third one of the trio, was of pure native lineage, a dwarf in stature, but free from the receding chest or hunch back. His perceptive faculties were ever in full play. He was acute, active, vigilant and fearless. His eye round, and deep set, was restless,
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and keenly observant of every object within the range of vision. If we add to his other qualifications, an undying devotion to the pair with whom he consorted, we can readily comprehend the value of his services, and the nature and strength of the ties uniting the trio.
For two days succeeding the departure of the Shawnee delegation, the chief, Wakazoo, pondered deeply upon this bloody conspiracy against the border white settlers. He was anxious to avert the dire calamity, but failed to devise any available means. In the midst of his perplexity, his three trusty scouts in by-gone straits, chanced to pay him a visit. For this purpose they had ridden twenty-five miles down the trail, from their wigwam at the big Horse Shoe Bend of the same river, and where we moderns find the village of Allegan.
After the scouts had been his guests for a few hours, Wakazoo invited them to a confidential interview. He there disclosed to them all the facts he had gleaned from the Shawnee embassy, touching the grand conspiracy for the slaughter of the white settlers. As the chief was closing his narrative he was practically reminded of the truthful old adage, "that blood will tell." Dead Shot, the pale-face scout, suddenly flared up into a mighty blaze of indignation, vowing that he would personally punish the authors of the atrocious scheme.
An earnest discussion next ensued, during which the scout retained his self possession, but he still resolutely affimed that he owed a duty to his race, which he would neither forego nor postpone. Wakazoo enquired if he felt at liberty to disclose the nature of that paramount duty? Dead Shot frankly replied :
" I see no objection to my naming it now, and here. This intelligence must be promptly conveyed to some
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one in authority, and who has the ability to crush out this foul conspiracy. Gov. Hull, of Michigan, has neither men nor means at his command. Gov. Harrison, of Indiana, may be equally destitute, but I think can readily supply himself with both. Besides the arch plotters of this wide-spread ruin reside within his domain. To him I will go."
Lynx Eye was instantly on his feet, exclaiming: "Me ready too, for that same trail."
"But what says Mishawaha, my queen of scouts?" the old chief enquired, as he courteously turned towards the person thus addressed. Her reply came promptly and in earnest tones:
"I should be unworthy to be the wife of a pale-face, could I oppose his performance of a duty so manifest and so sacred."
"I might have expected just such an answer from one of your fearless nature," the chief responded. Mishawaha rejoined:
"I do not esteem anything a sacrifice that may lessen the shame, the deep abasement I feel, in being of a lineage, and closely akin by blood, with men, who could deliberately plan this horrible slaughter of women and children. Dead Shot's mission is one that I can materially aid. Gov. Harrison lives at Vincennes, away down in the lower Wabash valley. We can never face him, however, with facts at second-hand as we now have them. Our journey must necessarily be through the upper Wabash country, for we must learn his plans from the Prophet's own lips."
"Your plan is crafty and much wise; but 'tis full of danger," hastily exclaimed Wakazoo. Mishawaha resumed in tones of increasing firmness:
" know every rod of that valley, with all its sur-
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rounding uplifts and table-lands. I will lead Dead Shot and Lynx Eye by a sure path, to the presence of him from whom the great danger now springs, and through whom, in some mysterious way, I feel assured a signal deliverance will come to the white race."
Under the pressure of strong excitement, Mishawaha had unconsciously risen up, and as she closed, was standing erect before them in her womanly beauty and queenly attitude, with her features all aglow, and eyes flashing with an inspiration her auditors dared not to gainsay or doubt. The conference abruptly terminated without further comment. The scouts retiring made their preparations for an early and hasty departure in the morning.
They were in the saddle at early dawn, returning on the up river trail to their wigwam at the big Horse Shoe Bend. The residue of time day and the evening were devoted to packing and securing their property to be left, and the necessary outfit for the long trip, and their possibly protracted absence. Their favorite mustangs, a present in previous years from Red Wing, the Sauk chief of Wisconsin, were still in prime condition. They were chosen for the present expedition on account of their admirable training, speed and bottom.
Their selected route was somewhat circuitous. It was the old trail via. Prairie Ronde, Three Rivers, White Pigeon, and thence southwesterly to the Prophet's Town in the middle section of the Wabash valley. With this route they were all familiar as far as White Pigeon. Beyond that point, Mishawaha had knowledge of the country and the trail, having traversed it in Elkhart, her father's company, when as Head chief of the Shawnee nation, he formerly led his braves on the war path to Three Rivers on the St. Joseph.
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With the rising sun they mounted and rode away from their abiding place, on their devious and perilous expedition. As they journey forward, averaging their fifty miles per day, we will avail ourselves of an author's privilege, and especially in behalf of such of our readers as may have chanced to peruse our former descriptions of the scouts, to speak of a few changes occurring in their personnel and surroundings, since we last bade them adieu.
During the intervening period the touch of time upon the scouts, like the cares of a mother, had been gentle and loving. It had simply developed and ripened their physical strength and matured their mental powers.
True it had brought Lynx Eye forward to the noon of life. Dead Shot was now thirty years of age, and Mishawaha was only three years his junior. They had been prosperous in their vocation, and had sought new avenues for traffic in their specialty of furs. They had made several trips eastward, visiting in turn Detroit, Sandusky and Buffalo.
Mishawaha availed herself of these opportunities for studying the social habits, customs and manners of her sex, under this, to her, novel phase of white civilization. Thereafter, her tastes, dress, and deportment, were studiously moulded after the new standard. Under the careful tuition of Dead Shot she had learned to read and write with facility, and to speak the English language correctly and fluently. But as yet, owing either to the natural bent of her race, or to time freedom of her early training, she entertained a settled aversion to any steady indoor seclusion.
Whilst at Buffalo, in 1898, Dead Shot armed him self with a new rifle of the then most improved pattern, with flask amid charge for powder. The rifle was
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externally plain, but the barrel was of excellent material, and of extra internal finish. It was shorter by some inches, but heavier and of larger calibre than his old one. He gauged the sights and tested it at forty five, sixty and seventy-five rods, amid with a little practice found it eminently reliable at the longest range.
He remembered Lynx Eye and bought for him one of equal length, but of less weight and smaller bore. This proved equally true to its aim within a range of fifty rods. He next chanced to find a small, light, highly ornamented rifle, with its bore proportionately small; in fact, an exquisite specimen of the article, having a tasty flask, charger, and bullet pouch to match.
This, with the equipments, he secured for Mishawaha.
The rifles were severally presented. The recipients fairly danced inecstacy over them as most precious gifts. Their practice was for hours each day, until at thirty rods neither could claim superiority, whilst at forty-five rods, Lynx Eye was the acknowledged equal of Dead Shot.
Five arms and especially the rifle had been rapidly introduced among the aboriginees, and their use had be come quite common east of the Mississippi, in the hands of renegade whites, petty chiefs and some of the Indian braves, as early as the year 1810. They were generally, however, of inferior workmanship, often inaccurately sighted, and proved of slight utility in unskillful hands.
If then we add to the rifles of our scouts, a choice supply of powder and balls, with tomahawk and knife in the belts of the males, and a keen two-edged dagger in the girdle of Mishawaha, we can readily perceive how they might prove an overmatch for double their number in any serious hostile encounter.
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For several days after starting they had journeyed forward with a feeling of entire safety. Their usual precaution of having Lynx Eye ride a short distance in advance, was more that he might take their needed game for food, without leaving the trail, than from any fear of lurking foes. Having reached and descended for many miles the principal head branch of the Wabash river, they found themselves finally traversing the upper section of one of the most fertile and delightful valleys of this or any other country. The silvery thread of the stream, with its graceful curves and sinuous windings through the rich alluvion bottoms; the clustered grasses and flowering plants, fanned by the
balmy, but fitful autumn breeze; the gently rising slopes on either side, with the distant ridges of green covered and
forest, crowned hills, furnished numberless pictures of exquisite loveliness, grandly grouped and framed in by the visual horizon.
The route, which from White Pigeon had been lonely and unfrequented, now exhibited signs of general use. The lateral branching trails bore the imprint of numerous moccasin tracks also. As their eyes fell upon these tokens of human presence, our wayfarers awoke from their dream of fancied security. In a moment they became scouts again. Watchful, wary and on the alert, they now advanced with slackened pace, and eyes glancing over and keenly peering into each wayside thicket.
The trail then being traversed by the scouts was chiefly in the timber nearest the river, and following its windings. But in that upper valley it once crossed to the other side at a convenient fording place. Near the crossing there was a cluster of large wide-branching forest trees under whose friendly shade wayfarers were wont to stop for both rest and food.
Some twenty rods away in the direction of our approaching travelers a sharp elbow occurs in the trail. A thick undergrowth of timber in the angle effectually intercepted the view beyond. As Lynx Eye, then a few rods in advance of the others, turned that angle he discovered a group of seven men lounging under the cluster of trees, at the ford. Their horses standing near at hand were evidently kept ready for use. The scout determined as to their race and character at a glance.
There were two white renegades and five native Shawnees. They were evidently thieving outlaws. Lynx Eye instantly wheeling his horse retreated towards his comrades. Not, however, before the loungers at the ford caught a glimpse of him in that brief moment of exposure. Those seven men sprang at once to their saddles, and with a wild whoop dashed furiously up the trail.
As Lynx Eye reached and reported to the other two scouts what he had seen, Mishawaha spoke hurriedly in reply : " It will not answer for us to flee. We must not be turned back here. Further south there is a
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choice of trails. Let us speak them fair. To rouse their suspicion now would be fatal to all our hopes of reaching the Prophet. We are to play a role with them."
As the last sentence fell from her lips the seven horsemen dashed around the angle at a wild gallop. Thereupon Mishawaha spurred her horse a few paces in advance of the other two, at the same time holding up a white handkerchief as the signal for a parley.
The grace and calm self-possession of the movement riveted the gaze of the renegade leader of the troop. Abruptly ordering a halt of the others, and riding forward alone, he finally drew rein within a few paces of Mishawaha. His admiring gaze was boldly fastened upon her features. She met his searching glance for a few moments with perfect composure. Then she addressed him in her smooth nicely modulated tones, using the Shawnee dialect.
"Five of us are Sauks from Wisconsin. The third is a pale-face hunter and my husband. Our people have heard wonderful things of the great Prophet of the Shawnees. We come on a mission to him." To this the renegade laughingly replied:
" Wal! I've hearn lots o'whoppin' lies in my day, but nary one of 'em so all fired prettily told as that'ar. Mebbe ye ken jist tell this'ere chap, how a Sank squaw ken rattle off sich Shawnee words as them'ar." With consummate coolness and tact she rejoined:
"You are a pale-face and quite excusable for being ignorant of what every Shawnee knows, that the Sauks and Shawnees are cousins of the same parent stock, and their language is the same."
"Wal now! That'ar am news I reckin, ef taint no lie," resumed the renegade. "Hello I you Possum," ad-
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dressing one of his native followers. "This ere squaw tells as how she's a Sauk from over Wisconsing way. She's got off a lingo here,
purtendin' the Sauks an' Shawnees am cousins, or sich like relashuns, an' use the same
'denticle lingo in thar' talk. How am that'ar ennyhow ?" To this enquiry the native follower replied:
"Possum knows it all much true. Him know too our Prophet, a few days back, sent a talk to Red Wing, Sauk chief. Me spose these'ere have some word back to him." The renegade after a moments hesitation finally rejoined:
"It sartin a looks that'ar way, cause this'ere harnsum squaw jest sed suthin' like that'ar. Least ways, yer see boys, its hans off these'ere coves, till arter they've had thar palaver with the Prophet. That'll not purvent a misadventur' happenin' to 'em here aways a goin' back." This last sentence was intended for the ear of Possum alone, but it was also heard by the scouts.
Waving his hand in token that his followers were to fall back, the renegade, with a species of rough politeness, next invited the scouts to ride forward with him to the camp ground at the ford. Upon their arrival there, finding that the sun was sinking from view in the west, the scouts dismounting entered upon their preparations as though they intended to remain over night. The trail ahead, by a couple of miles, forked off into two branches. One of these kept down the valley near the river. The other diverging to the interior, had an upland route. They both, however, met again, not far from the Prophet's Town.
The renegade leader seeing the inclination of the scouts to remain informed them that he must make a night's ride towards the settlements. But whilst his
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followers were arranging for a fresh mount, Lynx Eye heard the other white renegade say to the natives, "Never let slip a chance like this. Dead folks don't talk. The prophet will never know they come." After the others were in the saddle, the one called Possum, sidling up to Lynx Eye, enquired in a casual manner, "which trail they intended to take below in the morning?" The shrewd scout answered promptly that "they had been advised to keep the lower route."
The entire gang of seven thereupon passing over the ford galloped down the trail. The scouts first hoppling out their horses to feed, next rekindled the fire and cooked their food. When the meal was ended, neither of them manifested any inclination to camp down for sleeping. After their horses had been feeding for an hour, Lynx Eye remarked:
"Me think we too, better travel ten, fifteen miles 'fore safe to sleep." Dead Shot, desiring to fathom more clearly the thought of the other, enquired why he made this singular proposal. The dwarf answered:
"Me no like them chaps. Him bold leader is after one of us. The others all much want our horses, rifles and fixins. Me want to see forks of trail 'fore much long."
Dead Shot answered: "We will go." Then Mishawaha added: "By all means let us go. If they mean mischief we shall discover it at the forks. I feel sure they are thieving vagabonds."
The horses being speedily made ready, they mounted, and riding briskly onward, soon reached the forks of the trail. Twilight had faded into night, but the heavens were cloudless, and the moon half full was up aloft. Dismounting the trio carefully examined for tracks in both the trails. They quickly found that six of the
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horsemen had taken the lower route, whilst the seventh had gone up the other. The intent was manifest to the scouts. Should they take the lower trail the six were there in ambush. If they went by the upper route, they were to be watched and tracked by the seventh.
Their researches being ended, they remounted, and all headed for the upper route as if actuated by a common idea. When fairly started again, Lynx Eye gave voice to the thought of all by saying, "guess we'll turn 'em six chaps down yon in ambush by what Dead Shot call flank movement. This one up hereaway, better not hover our track long, either before or behind. No watch us going to Prophet. No catch us when we leave him we spose."
Thus saying and assuming his advance position, they all sped briskly on for a mile. As they there reached a small run of water crossing the trail, Dead Shot ordered a halt. Dismounting they closely examined for tracks again beyond that brook. None were to be found. "I conjectured as much," Dead Shot remarked. " The sneaking varlet has ridden up or down the stream to await our coming."
Again they mounted and pressed their way onward, hour after hour, until early dawn. Then selecting a cosy spot a few rods off the trail with a plenty of grass at hand, they put out their animals to feed, and Dead Shot and wife busied themselves in preparing for their needed food and rest. Suddenly they both became aware of the absence of Lynx Eye. Perceiving the startled look of his wife, Dead Shot quietly remarked to her:
"He will not be absent long. There has been no rest for him with a shadow on our trail. I noticed his frequent backward look during our last mile of travel, Ha !"
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This sudden exclamation was occasioned by the familiar report of the dwarf's rifle, less than one hundred rods back on the trail. Grasping his own weapon, Dead Shot bounded down to the track where his view was unobstructed, He beheld Lynx Eye running still further northward and towards a riderless horse. Beckoning his wife to remain quiet, he leaped along the route for the scene of that affray.
Rapidly nearing the spot where the weary horse was standing, he saw the dwarf gliding out of a thicket by the wayside. Without recognizing in any manner the approach of his comrade, Lynx Eye led the horse into the same thicket and there slaughtered it with his knife. His job was finished by covering with boughs and branches the dead bodies of both horse and rider.
Glancing at his movements, and discovering both the mood and the purpose of the dwarf, Dead Shot left the ground retracing his steps to their camp. Informing his wife of what he had seen, they both, in view of their own safety and the success of their mission, felt that the act was justified by a stern necessity. They were again busy in the preparation of their meal, and when all was in readiness, Lynx Eye glided into his place. With a keen relish, but in silence they all broke their fast.
When the demands of appetite were fully appeased, the dwarf remarked:
"Time now for you, both to sleep. Me feel much awake. 'Twas Possum I shot. Him ask me down by ford which trail we take at forks. Me know then must kill him, 'cause he cal'late to track us. Now me go watch." Thus saying and raising his rifle from the ground, he strode down to a stand-point beside the trail.
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About three hours later they all resumed the saddle and cautiously pursued their journey, with intervals of rest, until near the close of the succeeding day. Mishawaha, having been for some time closely scanning the scenery finally remarked: "That they were now in the vicinity of the Prophet's Town, and it was time for them to seek a safe retreat for man and beast."
They chanced to be at the moment riding along the verge of a deep ravine, with a stream at the bottom but densely wooded on its precipitous slopes. Mishawaha was restlessly glancing about on every side and critically examining objects near and remote. She was manifestly striving to recall scenes once familiar, but at present almost faded from memory.
Suddenly her look of doubt and uncertainty gave place to one of pleased assurance. Turning her horse abruptly from the trail, and entering the shallow out crop of a spur to the main ravine, she commenced its steep descent, the others warily but closely following.
Once at the bottom, they rode for a short distance up the bed of the stream. Here they found a grotto upon one side, literally scooped far within a limestone ledge. It was sheltered by overhanging masses of the same formation, and furnished ample room for both scouts and horses.
Having dismounted, their first care was securely to fasten their animals far within the grotto. Next with their knives the scouts cut for them a plentiful supply of feed, from the tall bunch grass growing along the margin of the stream. The Prophet's Town on the hither side of the Wabash river, and opposite its confluence with the Tippecanoe, was within less than two miles from their hidden retreat. The course of that main ravine trended off directly towards the settlement.
The high table lands cut by the ravine, had their river shore line half of a mile back from the stream. A fine intervening level was thus left with a dry surface, a few feet above high water mark. There, but clustered for upwards of a mile up and down the river margin, were the tents and wigwams of the natives.
Over against these on the promontory between the two streams, the Prophet had his solitary tent, living a secluded and austere hermit life. On stated days he would cross the river, and under a group of trees, harrangue the multitude. He had managed to enshrine himself so firmly in the hearts of the natives near and remote, that his sway over them was truly despotic.
The scouts were no sooner ensconsed in the grotto, than the two men, taking their instructions from Mishawaha, as to the several localities and their bearings, started on foot down the ravine to reconnoiter the settlement. Reaching the outskirts of the Indian village they found the place literally swarming with a promiscuous throng.
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It was composed in fact of the resident population, and in part of delegations from many remote and proximate tribes. By listening to the current of promiscuous talk as they sauntered about, or glided from one motley group to another, the scouts readily ascertained that the morrow had been set apart for a grand festival. They further learned that during the ceremonies the Prophet would honor them with his presence, and make an address to the assembled populace.
Withdrawing quietly from the throng the scouts were content to return to their retreat. At the close of their report, Mishawaha remarked. "Thea we are just in time. From to-morrow's speech we shall be able to glean what we most desire to know." On the succeeding morning they accordingly laid away their rifles and equipments, changed their dress to the customary apparel of ordinary Shawnees, and made their way down the ravine. At the appointed hour they took up separate positions in the throng fronting the speaker's stand.
The opening remarks of the Prophet were rambling and incoherent. They were however aided by his melodious voice and graceful gesticulation. Soon after his feelings warmed to his subject, his spirit became deeply stirred, and he stood confessedly clothed with the attributes and the power of native eloquence. He adverted to the country at large with its diversified scenery, made grand and beautiful by land and water, by mountain and valley, by hill and dale, and by forest glades and opening plains.
He announced the whole to have been a bountiful gift of the Great Spirit, especially designed and set apart for the red race. He next portrayed the golden era of that favored race; their countless numbers and unrivalled
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prosperity from ocean to ocean. Then directing their attention to the advent of the white race on the eastern shores, he depicted its blighting influence upon the
aboriginees, already decimated, degraded or extirpated from half the breadth of the continent. By the two contrasted pictures his own feelings had been gradually wrought up to a pitch bordering on frenzy.
He burst forth into a bitter scathing tirade against the whole pale-face race. Fairly exhausting the vocabulary of contumely, scorn and invective, with fearful anathemas he finally doomed them to swift destruction. He lamented the delay in their extirpation which had already occurred, pronouncing it utterly inexcusable.
Then came the climax. Striking his most imposing attitude, with glowing cheeks, dilated nostrils, wildly flashing eyes, and foam-flecked lips, he boldly proclaimed that he was specially commissioned by the Great Spirit to lead his people in the work of an indiscriminate slaughter of the outcast race of pale-faces, and that before the first autumnal snow and ice appeared he should initiate the great carnival of blood with the battle cry of "torch and knife."
The closing paragraph of that impassioned harangue sounded the key-note for the multitude there convened. By an irresistible impulse, the whole living mass leaped to their feet, and the scene was instantly one of the wildest uproar. Men, women and children, were stamping, jumping, and brandishing their arms aloft, amidst a deafening chorus of screams, whoops and demoniac yells. Our scouts worked and wormed their way out of the tumultuous throng, as best they could, and by separate routes sought the entrance of the ravine.
Their presence, however, had been detected by one of the followers, of the renegade leader who had previously
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interviewed them at the ford above. He saw them in the crowd and at a glance recognized Lynx Eye by form and feature. He kept him in view and pursuing at a distance finally saw the three consecutively enter the mouth of the gorge. Of their destination he was well assured, for he was familiar with the grotto; his own band having often resorted to it as a hiding place. He
turned back to inform his leader and confederates of his important discovery.
But, fortunately for the scouts, that discovery had been mutual. The eye of the dwarf had fallen upon him in the pursuit, and he was recognized as one of the gang whom they had met at the ford. Lynx Eye informed his comrades of what he had seen as together they now threaded their way up the ravine. On reaching the grotto, they hurriedly saddled their horses, shifted their garments, resumed their rifles and equipments, then mounting, were speedily up the ascent of the same ravine, and on the trail again.
This trail and the ravine both ran eastward. The path trodden by them in coming down from the north intersected the trail they were on, a mile east of their then position. Spurring their horses to a gallop they were soon at the junction of the trail. Here they turned up northward for a short distance, as though on their return. Thence they struck off obliquely across the intervening point south eastward, thus intercepting the easterly trail again. Along the latter and in that direction, they traveled for an hour at a sweeping gait. They finally drew rein as they reached a small rivulet across the trail, with good grass on its margin.
The day being well nigh spent, they dismounted and put out their horses to feed. In the meantime they made a hasty lunch and reclined for rest a couple of
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hours, as they designed to push steadily forward during the night. Mishawaha, remembering the country well, knew they were near a main trail leading off south westerly to the seat of government. Vincennes on the lower Wabash, being the oldest white settlement in all that region, was then the capital of the territory.
As twilight was gathering around them the scouts again set forth, and shortly arriving at the trail crossing, they turned off sharply to the southwest. Leaving them diligently pursuing their route, we will next turn our attention to the spy upon their track as they left the great assemblage. He sought for and at length found his leader to whom he imparted his news. The two started in search of the remaining four. By the time the six were brought together, armed and mounted, two full hours had elapsed.
Then they dashed up the trail, descended into the ravine and hurried up stream to the grotto to find their birds had flown. Retracing their steps up to the trail again, they soon found and then followed the tracks of the fugitives to the first junction of the trails. There, without dismounting, they saw the tracks manifestly turning northward. Elated with the idea that the scouts were returning by the route they came, the gang galloped merrily onward for an hour, without the precaution of once looking for the tracks.
This oversight finally occurring to the leader, a search was vainly instituted for any sign that the fugitives had passed that way, cursing their luck they turned back again. The natives at once applied themselves to the work in hand, with the acuteness and persistence characteristic of the race. They detected the point of divergence; traced the tracks across the point of land to the eastward bound trail junction. There they finally
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turned down the Vincennes route hours after the scouts had passed.
This last shift in the direction of the latter was a new and startling revelation to the pursuers. At a glance the fearful secret was laid bare to their mental vision. They, with the Prophet, and the Shawnee nation, were egregiously sold. The three strangers, from what ever quarter they hailed, were spies for the pale-faces. They had gained vital intelligence and a dangerous power through the unguarded disclosures of the Prophet's speech. The secret they had surreptitiously obtained must never be carried by them to the capitol.
Under the pressure of this fresh incentive, onward they dashed through all the hours of that night with what of speed the darkness and the jaded condition of their horses permitted. With them there had been no thought of food or rest. The scouts on the contrary had rested themselves from early dawn till sunrise, feeding their horses and breaking their own fast. They were again in their saddles, and were traversing an undulating region, crossing a succession of ridges or low swells of from fifty to eighty rods apart.
They had passed from one of these almost to the summit of another, when a wild whoop in their rear, caused them to halt and face suddenly about. What they saw convinced them that a crisis had come, for there was the renegade band of six, not eighty rods away, wildly whooping in headlong pursuit
The rifles of the three scouts were instantly in position for use. Dead Shot hurriedly addressed the others by way of caution: "'Tis time we began. Remember the range of your pieces. Don't pull trigger a moment too soon. Here goes number one." With the word he fired and the renegade leader fell. The other five pressed onward still.
Lynx Eye next sighting his man gave him the contents of number two with like effect. The remaining four suddenly drew rein delivering a volley which proved entirely harmless. Mishawaha promptly spurred her spotted horse a dozen rods towards them, then halting there was a glance of her eye over the barrel of number three, and the third saddle was emptied. The three outlaws were stationary reloading their riffles when Dead Shot afforded them a second taste of number one, dropping the fourth.
The remaining two letting fall their half-loaded rifles, wheeled their horses for flight. Lynx Eye dropping his rifle also, but grasping his knife, dashed his horse furiously forward in pursuit, whilst Dead Shot with rifle clubbed, spurred his charger until he was running neck and neck with that of the dwarf. The steeds of the outlaws, when fresh, were no match for those of the scouts.
Now, being weary and overridden they were overhauled in the first eighty rods, and their luckless riders fell; the one brained by the breech of Dead Shot's rifle, and the
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other transfixed by the knife of Lynx Eye. The latter forthwith dismounting, passed his knife to the hilt through the heart of each.
This operation he coolly repeated, as in returning over the ground he successively reached the bodies of the other four. Thus with all their known foes effectually disposed of, our scouts, after carefully reloading, and properly adjusting their weapons, quietly resumed and finally terminated their journey at Vincennes, where Gov. Harrison resided.
First devoting a few hours to needed refreshment and due preparation, our scouts sought and obtained an interview with the Governor. To him they imparted all their knowledge of the atrocious plot of the Prophet for the butchery of the white settlers, as well as of the extensive league then being formed by Tecumseh for the same purpose.
Gov. Harrison listened with wrapt attention to their recital. At the close of their report he enquired minutely into the details of the great assemblage, and of the precise tenor of the Prophet's closing words. Mishawaha clearly and concisely answered his queries. She was able to mention many tribes there represented, and to recite the concluding paragraphs of the Prophet's harrangue verbatim.
She then added a glowing account of the wild exultation of the multitude, with a graphic sketch of their subsequent encounter with the renegade band on the trail. The Governor was evidently well pleased with their deportment, remarkable intelligence, and manifest truthfulness. He thanked them warmly for their zealous efforts to avert a great national calamity. He also commended their destruction of the renegade band which had long invested the region, terrifying the white settlers by their depredations and ruthless massacres.
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The Governor next astonished them beyond measure, by familiarly calling their names, and informing them of his intimate knowledge of their history and
exploits for a series of years. The scouts were soon made aware of the sources of his information, for he mentioned the fact of his frequent interviews with
Pokagon, Wakazoo and Okemos, White Water, and Red Wing, in council. He remarked in passing, that their wonderful skill, heroic daring, and invaluable services, had became matters of wide-spread notoriety and general renown.
"And now," concluded the Governor, "I can by no means spare you, or dispense with your services in the present alarming crisis. Provision will at once be made for your comfortable lodging and subsistence. You will be free to go and come as your judgment may dictate, remembering always that the fate of thousands may depend upon your tact, skill, timely advice and information."
He then summoned an attendant, ordering him to furnish suitable quarters for the scouts and to properly care for their horses. Then rising and shaking hands with each, he closed the interview by saying to Mishawaha that the daughter of Elkhart, of the Shawnees, with her husband, would ever be welcome to his dwelling and family circle.
Governor Harrison devoted himself zealously to precautionary measures, and defensive operations. The white settlements were promptly notified of the impending danger. A call for volunteers was sent up and down the Ohio river over a wide belt on both its borders. The troops in the scattered forts were ordered to hold themselves in readiness on call for active service. Army supplies were industriously collected. To all these a fleet of boats was added for river transportation.
After two days respite our scouts were in their ele-
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ment again, pushing away up northward to the Prophet's town and hovering around the headquarters of other adjacent tribes. Thus at the capitol the authorities were kept constantly advised of all the movements of the Prophet
and his adherents far and near. Before the arrival of his own recruits, the Governor was made aware of the fact that bands of warriors were on the trail for the camp of the Prophet. By the middle of October a thousand dusky braves from a distance had thus collected.
As these bands successively arrived, they were placed in camp among the hills about four miles up the Tippecanoe river, whither the Prophet himself removed with his entire settlement. At the junction of the above river with the Wabash, the modern traveler will find the lively business village of Lafayette.
Boats of respectable tonnage reach this point by the Wabash from the Ohio river. The site of Lafayette is sixty to seventy miles northwest of Indianapolis, whilst Vincennes, then the capital, is one hundred and ten miles from the present capital in a southwesterly course.
When Governor Harrison was appraised by the scouts of this concentration of forces, and these openly hostile movements of the Prophet, he judged that the time had come for active operations on his part. Calling in all the regulars from garrison duty, he formed his camps for them and the border rangers as they arrived. Soon thereafter came Col. Boyd, renowned as a ranger chief on the Kentucky border, whilst with him, as an aid, came the youthful but heroic lieutenant Croghan.
The Governor assigned the regulars to the command of their senior officer, but he placed the rangers under the charge and special handling of Col. Boyd. He now marshalled and reviewed his troops and was gratified to
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find that his muster rolls showed eight hundred fighting men. Promptly embarking these with his stores and supplies on board a fleet of boats, Gov. Harrison
commenced his ascent of the Wabash river.
By allotting relays of men at the oars, every four hours, his forward movement was continued without interruption by night or day. The scouts mounted and on the trail of the left bank, reported in person, at sunrise and sunset of each day. They suffered no Indian spy, scout or runner, on whom the eye of either once fell, to bear away tidings of the approaching military force. Thus guarded from discovery or ambush, the fleet of boats reached the mouth of the Tippecanoe and the army was quietly landed on the tongue of land between the streams.
This point being the terminus of an elevated range was well adapted for military defense against assault or siege by savages. The Governor and commanding officers soon had the men busily engaged in fortifying a small area of the extreme top surface by breastworks and other artificial means.
Our scouts were as zealously employed in ferretting out the designs and plans of the Prophet. They found the region now swarming with red-skins, besides a numerous picket guard of braves encircling the entire camp of the Prophet night and day.
Every attempt therefore to penetrate within ear-shot of the enemy's headquarters, was not only full of peril to the scouts, but had proved utterly abortive until the night of November fourth. Then favored by a cloudy, moonless night, and aided by the dense covering of low branching forest trees, the three had crept in parallel lines, a few feet asunder, to a point within ear-shot of the lodges.
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Just then a transient gleam from a torchlight moving in the camp, shot over and past the scouts. Swift as its passage was, Lynx Eye discovered a dark creeping form a few feet in the rear, and stealthily approaching Dead Shot. Noiselessly the dwarf turned in the same direction, until he had thus crept within a man's length of the scout. Then that shadowy form slowly rising upon its knees between the two scouts, lifted a knife to pierce the back of the prostrate pale-face.
In the twinkling of an eye, the dwarf was on his feet behind the intruder, and passed his own knife with a drawing stroke across the throat of that Shawnee sentinel, gashing it to the bone and from ear to ear. The croak of a frog was their scouting signal for a silent gathering. The three were soon side by side, and learned by whisper what had occurred.
As they nestled down and all was hushed again, their attention was attracted by hearing voices in a lodge not twenty feet from them. They knew by the language and tone that two white renegades were conversing in English.
The first sentence distinctly heard by the scouts was the following:
"I say Jakel. That old dare-devil swore he'd pitch into the Gov'ner torch and knife, to-mor'rer night! Will he do it?"
"Hush Bill !" replied the other, "we don't know who's round us !"
"Pshaw, Jake! You're gittin' apoony. That 'ar Shawnee of ourn back in the bush, will cut the weaz- and of eny interlopin' spy. So you just answer that 'ar query."
"Wal then, Bill: he said it an he'll do it sartin' sure, cause why? Them reds ar' gittin' crazy for sculps. The old one is bound ter wipe out ther whites now, cause why, agin? Tecumseh'll kum back next week. He aint reddy yit, and he'll put off ther fight. So I say old torch an' knife'll wade in ter-mor'rer night. His reds'll back him too. They'll hit straight out from the shoulder, with ary one o' ther hand wee'puns."
"That's jist as I'd cipher'd on the slate. But see here. We in course don't care adot fur blood. Weis arter furage, sich as shutin' i'urns, blankets and fast horses, and sich like. So it stans tu reasun, we foller in the wake of them reds."
The colloquy here ceased and the scouts betook them selves to the task of worming their way out of the lines as they had entered. Then mounting, they made for headquarters at a break-neck pace. Their news was
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of vital importance, and most opportunely brought to the fort. The scouts were publicly and warmly commended for their skill and daring intrepidity. This rash and reckless onslaught by the Prophet, in the absence of the great war chief, was what the Governor most earnestly desired, but that the venture would be
taken he had not dared to hope.
The morrow then proved a busy day for all. The fortifications were strengthened, arms were made ready, full rounds of powder and ball were distributed, and at evening every exposed combustible including the breast works, were thoroughly drenched with water, to prevent their being ignited by torch-bearing arrows. As darkness closed in, the picket lines were doubled. The men off duty lay down with arms by their sides.
The scouts had been all day in the saddle, hovering distantly around the enemy's camp, watching every movement. As darkness came on, their approaches were yet nearer, until at midnight they bore to the fort the certain news that the Prophet had divided his forces into three bands. The first was on its way to the Wabash above, with intent to drop down to the river forks by canoe. The second division would descend the Tippecanoe in like manner. The third and much the larger section, led by the Prophet, would take the land route between the rivers, and assail their entrenchments in the rear.
This last intelligence was equally important to the besieged, since in the light of its disclosures, their defensive arrangements could be shaped and perfected. The Governor, with an eye to the whole, yet left it to his officers to station and handle each his separate command. Col. Boyd was well versed in the cunning and subtility of Indian nature, and in all their methods of attack under cover of darkness.
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He inferred from their movements as reported by the scouts, that their real attack would be upon the slopes leading up from the two river sides. He wanted his rangers on the defensive there. He suggested to the officer in command of the regulars to mass his men on the side looking to the interior and facing the approach of the enemy over land. The idea was readily approved and acted upon.
Col. Boyd entertained the brightest opinion of the skill and bravery of the scouts. He was familiar with the history of their many wonderful exploits. He stationed them in the angle of the works overlooking the inland and Tippecanoe sides of the fort, and placed under the command of Dead Shot, a sergeant with a file of a dozen rangers.
To give these men confidence in their new leader, and to put them on their mettle for the work in hand, the Colonel told them, as they were moving forward to the angle, "that they must go in on their muscle, for their new leader was 'Dead Shot,' the far-famed wizard scout of the Kalamazoo." Upon this announcement, advancing a step and touching his cap, the sergeant enquired if he might ask a question. "Certainly," said Col. Boyd; "ask a dozen if you like."
Emboldened by this good humored reply, the sergeant resumed: "Wal then, Kurnel ! I reckon as how we'd all like tu know suthin' 'bout them ar tuther ones, 'cause the thing naterally stans thusly with us. Ef that ar hulsome lookin' squaw am Mishawaha, old Elkhart's daughter that was, and tother chap am Lynx Eye, the Ottawa dwarf, tho batin' his bantarm legs, the latter I reckon are a misbespoken tarm; an' ef the hull three am the 'dentical scouts what fout at Three Rivers, an' Sleepia' Bar Bay, an' over tu Scanawby on Green Bay,
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then I cal'late as how there'll be no needcessity fur keepin' them ar soger chaps from
sleepin' thar fill. Why, Kurnell; we fifteen men with the feeters o' that 'ooman
'mong us, we'll jist take this ere little job off yer hands any how, an' we'll wallop all the reds fur
sartin' 'atween this an Texis, we will! 'Scuse my per laver, Kurnell; but with them
'mong us we eanermost wurship, we feel jist like fitin' ter kill, an' kinder riled up with
animashun; hanged ef we don't
Colonel Boyd was a genial man and enjoyed this eloquent outburst of his enthusiastic sergeant immensely. But checking his risibles by a powerful effort, he simply replied, that the trio before them were truly the three famous scouts of the northwest, but he could allow no monopoly of the fighting as all the men would claim a hand in the morning's job. Thus saying he turned away to complete his arrangements for defending the two river sides of the fortifications.
Midway of each front of the breastworks, a bundle of dry faggots saturated with turpentine, had been placed upon a rough piled mound of stone, just inside of the timber, but having a sufficient elevation to throw their glare downward to the water, whilst lighting up the intervening slopes.
This shrewd suggestion came from Col. Boyd, who had anticipated a night attack. Dead Shot now took position, ranging his men from the angle along facing the Tippecanoe, with sufficient elbow room to each for easy work. His special instructions to them were on opening fire to rake the slope nearest the face of the works. Within the fortifications everything had settled down into perfect quietude, and so remained until the faint glimmer of dawn appeared.
Then up the trail inland a column of dusky warriors
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was seen advancing, bearing hundreds of blazing torches, stepping to the tap of the native drum, and the
chant of their wild war song. Dead Shot remarked to Gov. Harrison, who chanced to be standing near: "That is not the style of an Indian assault. It is a feint to attract attention, and to cover a real attack from the water side." The fact became apparent a moment later, when the column came to a sudden halt outside of rifle range. There was a grand flourish of sounds with a waving and flashing of lights.
In the very act of wildly flaunting them, the torches were suddenly quenched, and all became dark and silent as the grave. The Governor ordered the faggots to be instantly lighted on the mounds. This was the preconcerted signal for a volley discharge upon any enemy within sight and range. As those three columns of bright, garish flames shot upwards a wide circle was bathed in a flood of light.
A novel spectacle was presented to the men behind the works as they rose up to deliver their fire. The hither margin of both rivers was lined with canoes, run up side by side and bow on the shore. Between them and the breastworks, the intervening slopes were literally covered with crawling, dusky bodies, now seemingly struck motionless by the first piercing gleams of those upshooting lights.
Next came the sharp crack of many rifles. That first discharge was terribly effective. The wide expanse of the slopes was dotted over with prostrate forms writhing in convulsive death throes. But myriads of yet unharmed men uprose, springing up the acclivity with bounding leaps for the breastworks Others still with flight after flight of arrows swept the top surface of the timber wall.
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That savage horde would inevitably have swarmed up the face of, and over the entrenchments, but for the precaution of leaving hundreds of loop holes under the topmost timber. To each of these apertures three
men were assigned. One to keep up a steady firing, with two in his rear to reload the empty barrels. A murderous fire was continuously vomited forth, whilst in the intervening spaces, men with rifles clubbed, would alternately crouch for shelter, and then rising, sweep the surface log of climbing assailants.
The sixteen rifles of Dead Shot's party at the angle, being dexteriously loaded and skilfully aimed, thinned the ranks of the uprising savages with an incessant stream of leaden missiles. The view presented soon became truly appalling. Limbs were twisting and wildly tossing; bodies were falling, rolling and writhing; whilst plashes, gouts, and pools of blood crimsoned the hill sides, saturating the soil, and trickled downward to the water.
Inside the works men were also bleeding and dying. They were each moment being wounded, pierced, and transfixed in head, chest and arms by an incessant flight of arrows. Through the crevises and loop-holes, over the top, everywhere they flew, and often struck home. Three of the sixteen at the angle, reckless of danger, and emulous of notice from their famous leader, had already fallen sorely though not fatally wounded.
Scores and scores of the dusky braves had climbed up the face of the works, gaining a precarious top foot hold, but only to be hurled down again by the circling sweep of the rifle or musket breech. Yet undismayed by this fearful havoc, their furious assault was repeatedly renewed, and the sanguinary struggle prolonged.
When however a large percentage of that portion of the assailants were down, wounded, mangled or slain outright, the residue of the horde yielding, enmasse, fled down to the shore line of both slopes. It was only a change in their wily strategy. They next sent up clouds of torch-lit arrows, at the face of the works and into the area beyond. For a few minutes these were seen sticking and hanging everywhere.
Each of those missiles, with its tremulous flickering flame, like a thing of life, seemed eager to overlap and ignite something inflammable or combustible. The wisdom of the evening's shower-bath was now most strikingly manifest. The torch-lit arrows failed to enkindle a flame.
The Prophet, away back on the interior elevated trail, where he had halted, now dearly perceived the entire failure of the attack from the water side, and where he had boldly predicted an easy victory. Stung to madness by that failure, in the frenzy of the moment he ordered a quickstep advance of his own column, with chant and drum-beat. He incautiously followed up and planted his standard a trifle short of eighty rods from the fortifications.
The commanders inside were, by an unlooked-for evo-
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lution of the foe, enabled to mass their whole force of the side fronting the Prophet. For at the first tap on that wild tocsin, the surviving savages down on the shore line of both rivers, facing up their respective streams, ran swiftly past the works. Then wheeling inland and ascending the slope, each division joined the Prophet's column in the rear.
Thus united they still presented a most formidable array, numbering thousands. They now occupied the most feasible ground for an open effective attack. They had the advantage of being on a level with the base of the breastworks. They could far more readily pierce the loop-holes or sweep the top surface with their arrows. Besides their facilities were far greater for vaulting over the barricade in their onslaught.
On the inside Col. Boyd was disabled by what was deemed a serious arrow wound. The Governor was apprehensive that the spirited young Croghan was too inexperienced to handle the renegades without his own personal supervision. He was soon relieved of his anxiety, for Dead Shot adroitly faced his own squad from the south to the west side, and then Croghan skilfully formed a second line with the rangers in rear of the regulars.
The Governor chancing to approach the position of Dead Shot, the latter suggested the danger of having all their barrels unloaded by any general volley.
"The hazard I clearly perceive," replied the Governor,. "but how shall we avoid it?" "Let none fire but those in the front line, and as they discharge their pieces, let them, stooping low down, seek the rear to load," was the rejoinder of the scout. Governor Harrison acted at once upon the hint, by passing the requsite order along the line.
As the arrangements were thus being completed
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within, right onward from without came that formidable assaulting phalanx. When their front was within a dozen rods of the face of the works, the regulars, rising as one, erect, delivered throughout their line a volley of musketry. The havoc they made was frightful. Men fell like mown grass. The shock staggered, but did not check the advance.
The gaps in the ranks were instantly filled, whilst a wild tempest of arrows swept the top surface of the works. It came a moment too late. The regulars had just dropped low down at the rear to load, whilst the rangers now stood crouching behind the breastworks. As the flight passed over and beyond, they simultaneously rose, and the crack of their rifles came from right to left with murderous effect.
But even this raking fire did not arrest the head-long rush of that fanatical, frenzied throng. The interval since the last volley had been so brief that our scouts alone, of all that line, had finished loading. An instant more and a line of savages had leaped to the top surface of the works.
The Prophet back at his standard saw that upward spring and in the exuberance of his delight madly shouted them on to victory. Mishawaha, touching her husband's arm, pointed to the far-away Prophet, saying:
"He alone carries the fortunes of this day. Can you reach him there?" The scout replied: "I might, but he is your relative."
That spirited woman rejoined: "Were he my father, and were he engaged in this demon work of the Prophet, I would, to save this universal carnage, slay him myself."
As she ceased the utterance of these words, Dead Shot brought the rifle breech to his shoulder with a jerk, sighted his object and fired. The Prophet dropped,
Book Page 562
benumbed and senseless, for the heavy ball had gone crashing through his right shoulder. At the same
moment, and by a herculean effort of the line of rangers inside, the swarm of savages standing on the top timber of the works, was hurled outward by blows and thrusts from the breech and muzzle of their guns.
Before a further move was made on either side, there arose away at the rear, and rolled forward to the front of that savage horde, a wild wail—a cry of despairing agony! "The Prophet is slain! The Prophet is slain!" was the burden of that cry of woe, upbursting from the lips of thousands. Together they bowed with blanched cheeks, and bloodless lips under the pressure of this strange, thrilling horror.
With that stricken host, one single thought was now paramount. To guard his sacred remains from profanation by the whites was a duty higher than life itself. Those nearest the place of his fall, hastily raising the body in their arms, bore it up the trail with rapid steps. The assault was on the instant not only abandoned but utterly forgotten.
Those native warriors, to a man, unmindful of peril, and reckless of life or limb, turned their backs upon the works and their foes within. They massed them selves in solid column for retreat, intent solely upon interposing an invincible rear guard over what they believed to be the remains of their Holy Prophet.
The scouts laying aside their rifles, now leaped, knife in hand, to the topmost timber. Next Dead Shot shouted in clarion tones, "Our victory is yet but half achieved! The fight is over, but punishment must not linger!" Thus saying, the three sprang to the ground outside. Lieutenant Croghan was instantly aloft in the place made vacant by the scouts. He now in turn, shouted
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the order: "Let all frontiersmen who love a finished job follow the scouts!"
Thus speaking, he too leaped outside. With a stunning hurrah, the rangers went over the works after him, pellmell. Away they dashed after that moving column. Gaining rapidly, they soon closed with the aboriginal mass, and with tomahawk and knife clung to its rear and flanks. A wholesale butchery now commenced. The native warriors retreating in order, were content to ward off the assailants as best they might. But they never once turned at bay, and no one attempted by flight to avert his fate.
Thus far nearly a mile the avengers hung to the skirts of that ever decreasing column. Then, when blades were dripping and garments were dyed in blood, when arms were weary, and breath came only in panting gasps, Dead Shot again shouted to those border men, "Our day's work is now accomplished. The avenger's job is finished. Let us return to the Governor and report this campaign ended."
Leisurely retracing their steps they entered the works where rangers, scouts and regulars were warmly thanked by the Governor for their gallant deeds and the decisive victory they had achieved. He then dismissed them for an hour, for needed ablutions and change of raiment, announcing that at the expiration of the hour a regimental repast would be in readiness for all.
In the afternoon, whilst the surgeons skilfully cared for the wounded, the dead of their own party were all collected to be taken to Vincennes for interment. Then, with characteristic humanity both rangers and regulars volunteered to dig two large trenches, the one down near the water's edge, and the other beside the upland trail, where they buried the savages slain in that day's fight.
Whilst the soldiers were thus employed, the scouts ascended the Tippecanoe river to reconnoiter the Prophet's camp. They found it stripped and entirely deserted. Searching the precincts they discovered a Shawnee brave sorely wounded, and whose life was fast ebbing away. Upon the promise of Mishawaha that he should be left
to die in peace, he informed her that the Shawnee braves had all fled from the region, and those from other tribes had departed for their homes.
He also further informed her that the Prophet had recovered his consciousness, but his right shoulder was so badly shattered, that he would be crippled for life. His followers had already conveyed him by water to a secluded hiding place. The scouts thereupon returned with their news to the mouth of the Tippecanoe.
Satisfied by their report that the campaign was indeed ended, Governor Harrison ordered everything to be fully arranged for their departure on the morrow for the capital. The wound of Col. Boyd proved to be far less serious than the surgeons had been led to apprehend. In fact, with a careful dressing and a night's rest, he was able to walk to the landing and embark, leaning meantime on the arm of lieutenant Croghan.
All being in readiness, they were soon under head way, and that military expedition found its downward passage both easy and pleasant. Duly arriving at Vincennes, the dead were buried, the armed array was disbanded, the regulars returning to garrison duty, and the volunteers to their homes.
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At the earnest solicitation of the Governor the scouts remained for a few days to rest and recruit. Then with a liberal outfit in clothing and substantial tokens of his esteem, they were dismissed, with the solemn promise on their part, however, that on call they would personally aid him in any future public emergency. Making their home trip safely, and without any unpleasant incident, they dropped quietly into the routine of their peaceful avocations.
Thus ended the campaign of the Wabash Valley, with the famous battle of Tippecanoe, fought on the morning of Nov. 5, 1811. The rash precipitancy of the Prophet; his want of skill in planning and conducting the assault; and more than all, the discovery by the scouts of the time and mode of the attack, contributed largely to the result so disastrous to the red men.
The victory achieved at Tippecanoe and the exemplary punishment inflicted upon the savages by that frightful slaughter, wrought out still more beneficial results. By it the whole scheme of massacring the white settlers was thwarted, and the grand league of Tecumseh was overthrown and forever dissolved.
The Prophet indeed survived for years, but in a crippled condition, alienated from his brother and neglected by the nation. His prestige, as a prophet suffered a total eclipse. His incoherent raphsodies once regarded as inspired prophetic teachings, came to be considered as the idle ravings of a lunatic, or the vaporing nonsense of a bewildered brain.
Tecumseh found a partial solace for the wreck of his ambitious schemes and fondly cherished hopes, in fact, a balm for his sorely wounded spirits in the dark cloud of a war then imminent between England and the United States. He eagerly closed with the specious
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overtures of the former, agreeing to furnish for its service a certain quota of native warriors, in consideration of his receiving a Brigadier's commission in the British army. As a recompense to his braves they were to receive two golden guineas for each scalp of a white American man, woman, or child.
Meanwhile as we have already hinted, the annihilation of the Prophet's force, with the condign punishment meted out to the Shawnees and their allies at Tippecanoe, produced a wholesome terror and lasting dread among all the tribes in the territory bordering on the Ohio and its tributaries. Added to this, Tecumseh, by the wreck of his ambitious schemes, had lost the confidence of many tribes, in his actual abilities as a war leader.
Hence we find that when a few months later he sought to rally a force to his British standard, he was compelled to form an alliance with, and enlist his recruits from the Chippewas and Hurons around the lakes north and in Canada West.
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