Cherokee Phoenix

MILITARY PROWESS.- Two Wars in Two Weeks.- Alexander was occupied five months in the siege of Tyre-C

Published September, 23, 1829

Page 2 Column 2b-4b

MILITARY PROWESS.- Two Wars in Two Weeks.- Alexander was occupied five months in the siege of Tyre-Caesar was 60 days in subduing Italy-Hannibal seven months in capturing Saguntum-and Buonaparte (sic), the greatest of them all, could not terminate the Russian war so easily as he began it. But (si credere dignum est) the American heroes have begun and ended two wars in about as many weeks; wars too, with the terrible savages,- at a distance from our crowded settlements,-and 'against fearful odds.'

The first was got up in the office of the Columbus Enquirer, printed somewhere near the scene of 'warlike operations.' According to this redoubtable print, a combination was 'being formed' between the Creeks, Seminoles, Choctaws, and Cherokees, the object of which was 'to wage a war of extermination upon the frontier, and assassinate every white West of the Flint River; and when troops should be sent to fight them they would return to the swamps and die to a man, fighting for the soil of their fathers.' On the receipt of this 'important intelligence, the flame of patriotism burnt brightly in the breast of every Georgian; measures were taken to inflict a summary vengeance upon 'those gormandizing marauders-those most execrable desperadoes, and those nefarious and most insatiate hounds of perdition;' one thousand stand of arms were sent in open wagons, without a guard, through or near a part of the Indian territory; and the sentence went forth from the office of the Savannah Republican,'If one drop of our citizens blood should be shed by them, or the committal of any outrages on their part, on the lives and properties of our defenceless (sic) frontier people--then is their fate sealed. A war of extermination by the whites must and will take place, and they will be driven at the point of the bayonet into the Mississippi.' But it so happened that while all these 'notes of preparation' were sounding, and the Georgians were exulting at the prospect of this new and almost unhoped for method of securing the remnant of the Indian lands, the Indians themselves were as peaceable as a lamb in its nest. They had not even dreamed of any hostile measure against the whites; and when the news of such rumors reached their ears, the Creeks, who were represented as the instigators of the war, issued the address which may be found below. How unlike, in its spirit, to the murderous ociferations of the whites! 'We wish' say they, 'to live in peace with our white brothers; and we wish our children to live in peace after we are dead and gone. We wish to cultivate peace and harmony forever. We wish and instruct our children to adopt the manners and customs of the whites as far as they are capable of so doing, as we find our neighbors, the Cherokees, are fast advancing in the arts of civilized life.' 'We beg you, on the part of this nation and ourselves, to accept the warmest feelings of friendship and good will; and be assured that our nation never will spill the blood of our white friends and brothers, so long as the water runs or the grass grows.' -Thus ended the first Indian war of 1829.

Scarcely, however, had this war been announced, when a 'confused noise' came rushing from the wilds of Missouri, that there too the scalping knife had been drawn, and the tomahawk dug up from under the tree of peace, and that several respectable citizens had been brutally murdered by 'those nefarious and insatiate hounds of perdition.' There was no doubt but the whole Indian country was under arms, and that thousands of 'these most execrable desperadoes' were thirsting for the white man's blood. Immediately the whole State was in motion: 1000 men were called out by the Governor; hundreds of volunteers, and six companies of U. S. troops were on their march, with a promptness almost incredible; and it was estimated that 'from 1500 to 2000 men would have arrived at the theatre of operations within a week.' No matter who had been the aggressors; the white man's blood had been shed, [and the Indian's too, in a threefold greater ratio, but this was quite another matter,] and therefore a general turnout must ensue to punish the 'murderers.' The sequel this affair is supremely of ridiculous. It was announced by the National Intelligencer is the following words.-

GOOD NEWS.-- The Hagerstown Torch Light acknowledges the receipt of a Missouri paper, of the 25th of July, which states that the troops which lately went in pursuit of a small band of Indians, are on the return from the battle ground, not having met with any Indians. It would have been surprising if they had. Having had twelve of their small band killed, the remaining sixty or seventy, no doubt, sought safety by precipitate flight, from the further danger which impended.'

Thus ended the second Indian war of 1829. The circumstances of the unfortunate affray which gave rise to these movements are thus detailed in the St. Louis Times of August 1:-

Five or six families had removed to a remote part of Randolph County for the purpose of raising stock and after they had remained there sometime, the Indians who were hunting in the same range of country discovered them, and immediately moved their camp close to the whites, and commenced killing their hogs and other stock, and grew so quarrelsome and insolent, that the whites sent an express to the settlements for force to drive them off. The Indians, on being apprised of this, immediately decamped, and had got twelve miles off before the express returned with an armed force to the relief of the settlement. The party on their arrival, finding that the Indians were gone, thought proper to follow them and demand some satisfaction, and on overtaking the Indians,THEIR CHIEF WAS DEMANDED AND THEN THEIR ARMS, which soon led to an exchange of shot and the loss of lives on both sides. Although the improper conduct of the Indians in the first place may have led to this unfortunate result, yet there was not a single circumstance to induce the belief that they intended any further injury; and we regret very much that the governor should have been so much deceived, as to have ordered out so large and unnecessary a force.

Could we hear the Indian version of the affair, it would probably show the injustice of the whites in a still stronger light. What right had this self-formed and self-governed party to demand the Indian arms and Chief? The latter, according to the story of the whites themselves, were not the first to fire; they were the principal sufferers by the firing; and long before the arrival of the 1500 or 2000 men, sufficient almost to capture a province, they were doubtless far in the recesses of the forest, hoping there to enjoy in their solitude, that quiet which they too often seek in vain in the neighborhood of the whites.

For ourselves we should not be surprised to know that the aggressions attributed to the Indians, were in fact the aggressions of their accusers. It is no new thing for a few families of whites to invade an Indian settlement, and lord it over the poor natives at pleasure. The only alternative of the latter, whatever may be their wrongs, is to submit; for they know that the moment any dispute is raised, and especially any blood shed, hundreds and thousands of white men will be upon them, and make their situation still more intolerable. The following facts in substance, were communicated a few days since, to a friend of ours, by Governor_________,of _______.

-Being on a tour up the Missouri, we believe on board a steam-boat, and having advanced about 400 miles beyond any considerable white settlement, he went on shore for some purpose, and soon met with two Indian Chiefs, who he had seen in _______, and who immediately recognized him. They pressed him to go with them, and though very reluctant to do so for various reasons, he was finally overcome by their importunities, and yielding himself to their direction, was soon introduced to a Council of Chiefs. They were assembled to deliberate on the fate of two white families who had intruded into their settlement, killed their hogs, tyrannized over their people, and threatened to shoot any person that should molest them. In consequence of their presence, the Indians could not leave their settlement in search of game to lay up for winter; because in this case their corn would be seized. If they remained at home, they would have not meat; if they went away, no bread. What could they do-what ought they to do? This was the question they were considering, and on which they solicited the advice of Governor_______. He perceived the delicacy of his situation, and that if he should give his opinion in the case his conduct would be liable to be misrepresented, and his motives misinterpreted. He finally went to the men, and asked them what they meant by intruding upon an Indian settlement in this manner, and setting all reason and justice at defiance. They replied that they had as good a right there as the Indians had, and at any rate, would not go off; or something to that effect. We suspect that such cases are by no means uncommon at the West; and our only wonder is, that the Indians are able to brook at all, the multiplied and unceasing abuses which are heaped upon them. If a white man should submit to such indignities, he would be called a coward and a fool: if an Indian resists, it is done to his certain destruction. Surely.

There is no flesh in man's obdurate heart,

It does not feel for man.

Journal of Commerce.