Cherokee Phoenix


Published August, 11, 1832

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The Editors of the Journal of Commerce have been favored with the following extract of a letter, dated.

VANDALIA (Ill.) June 27, 1832

Sir,- You see by the papers, that we are again in arms against our old enemy, the Black Hawk. The first army, consisting of 2000 volunteers , whose time of service expired about a month since, against this outlaw, effected nothing. The command of it was entrusted to a man whose government consisted in the use of those means employed by candidates for popular favor, which not only failed in securing him the popularity he sought, but rendered him obnoxious to the whole army. The second requisition of about 3000 men, assembled about ten days since near the foot of the rapids of the Illinois, and have been organized into three brigades, which, with 600 regulars, are under the command of Gen. Atkinson. The army thus constituted, has marched in three divisions to the point where the Black Hawk and his followers have made a stand on an island of about eighteen acres, surrounded on all sides by an almost impassable swamp.

His forces are said to amount to about 1200 men, mostly of the Sac and Fox tribes, with the disaffected of the Potawatomies and Winnebagoes. His position is said to be a very strong one, and doubtless as well fortified as his means will admit. The plan to be pursued is a good one, and will not fail of success, if full reliance can be placed in the friendly Indians, who are cooperating with the army. In the mean time, skirmishes are daily taking place. A few days since, one of our ranging companies was attacked, which resulted in the loss of two men. In another attack, two men were killed, and the captain severely wounded. In another, eleven Indians were killed-indeed, the whole of the N. Western frontiers is now the theatre of war. The whole country is abandoned, and the inhabitants collected in forts and block houses. It is a time of great suffering, owing to the bad crops last year and the same prospect of scarcity this year. Farms have been abandoned in many places, and in our section of country, we are suffering from the effects of a long protracted drought.

The line of our canal or railroad is now in the enemy's country--of course, operations in that quarter have ceased-little else is thought of but the war; even our elections, which are held on the first Monday of August, appear to be almost forgotten. In politics, this State may be set down for Jackson, but is by no means certain for Van Buren. If the war will allow leisure for an organization, the Johnson party will be as likely to succeed as the other.

Extract of another letter, dated


Rock Island, June 27, 1832

I have made a trip to Rock Island and Galena. The mining country s now the seat of war. It is filled with small forts, located in each settlement, containing each from 25 to 50 men-number of forts perhaps 20. The woods and forests are all occupied by Indians lying in ambuscade, and shooting at every party that comes near them. The number of whites that have lost their lives is about 709. Number of Indians much less,-perhaps not more than 30 or 40.

The week previous to our arrival, 2 skirmishes had taken place within 40 miles of Galena. In the first, 19 whites under General Dodge, pursued 15 Indians into a thicket, charged on them and killed 13, losing 2 of their own men. In the other, Major Stevenson, a young friend of ours, with 12 men, was in pursuit of about the same number of Indians who had stolen horses within 12 miles of Galena. He then charged on them, with all advantages on their side,-killed two men, lost 3, received a ball in his breast (not mortal) and was obliged to retire. It was ascertained next day that he had probably killed 5 or six Indians. An express brought information that 4 men were fired on while we were there, 10 miles from Galena, one man wounded-all retired to a small fort. The fort was attacked by about 150 savages, who succeeded in killing one man, and killing and driving off all the stock in the vicinity. The fort was defended by about 30 men and as many women, the women making cartridges, and loading for the men to fire. Such determined bravery as exists in this mining country I have not known. Every individual is ready to rush into an engagement with the enemy even when he finds him entrenched, and to dive into the most impenetrable thickets. They give one fire and then rush into the brush, and use the pistol, knife, tomahawk or empty gun barrel, as they best can. Galena has a blockhouse, 2 cannon, a stockade for women and children, and perhaps 300 men under arms. What a change from the commercial activity of the Spring! The season opened with a prospect of business far superior to any they have ever had. Now the town is a fortress-business suspended--no mineral raised--no farms cultivated-famine would have depopulated the country but for the public spirit of some individuals who have taken the risk of supplying the troops.

You now ask where is the main Army? So do we all. The tardiness of their movements is a matter of surprise. They are supposed to be on Fox River; but the policy pursued by Gen. Atkinson, in not only leaving the mining country to take the whole brunt of the war, but in undertaking to admonish them to beware of expense in furnishing themselves with ammunition and military stores with the assurance that they should not be remunerated, is incomprehensible to a spectator, and unfeeling as well as insulting to brave people that are doing all the fighting and suffering all the dreadful effects of savage fury;--for the Sacs fight with more daring than any savages ever did before, that were not in circumstances of desperation.

The young women that have been redeemed from captivity are now under our charge, going to St. Louis. They say they have been treated with nothing but kindness while among the savages, who were yet in the daily practice of dancing about the scalps of their father, mother, brothers, and sisters. Their account of the matter is not otherwise peculiarly interesting. They were daily changing their places of encampment. The Sacs had many fine horses of the Americans among them, and considerable money.

P. S. Since writing the above we have ascertained that a fort at Kelly's Grove, 60 miles from Rock Island is attacked by several hundred savages, who had killed two whites and were left by the express still engaged. The main army of 3 or 4000 whites was near them, and marching to the succor of the fort.