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the points mentioned in the journal, notably Ferryville, Kanesville, the Mormon village, the points called Elkhorn ferry and Loup Forks, which, the last, must be nearer the mouth of the Loup than the present Loup Fork. Also the name of the officer in charge of ferry at Elkhorn.]
THE PAWNEE INDIAN WAR, 1859.
By Capt. R. W. HAZEN.
Reprinted from the Omaha Daily Bee, February 17, 1890. R. W. Hazen, who was captain of a company organized at Fremont in 1858, for the protection of the settlers from Indian depredations in those early days, contributes to the Tribune of that city the following interesting account of what is known as the Pawnee war:
In giving to the reader a history of the Pawnee expedition in July, 1859, I feel a degree of hesitancy. In the first place I take into consideration in the introduction the habits and character of the Indians and what the Pawnee Indians had to contend with their natural enemy, the great Sioux nation.
In the winter of deep snow, in 1833, the Sioux in large numbers came down
upon their village on the south side of the Platte river, opposite what was once known as the “Lone Tree” station, now Central City, pouncing upon them, butchering a large number, not even sparing the squaws or papooses, and no doubt the intention was to exterminate them, or at least weaken their tribe.
The next great loss was their ponies, driven away by the Sioux at the same time. With their depleted numbers they removed to Southern bluffs, south of the Platte river, about three miles from Fremont.
The Pawnees were ripe for revenge and made raids upon the Sioux for ponies to replenish their stock, and to more securely hold them made a large stockade in the center of their village for the night.
In the summer of 1858, twelve of the young bloods of the Pawnees started out on the warpath, evidently to steal ponies, smarting under the whip of their defeat in former years. Going to the far westward the eagle eye of the Sioux sighted them and divining their object, they turned loose at night the same number of old horses they lately had taken. In the morning the Sioux found their trail, and overtaking them, killed eleven of the Pawnees, and slitting the ears of the twelfth into shreds, sent him home to tell the tribe what had become of the others. The wailing of the tribe was heard at Fremont. On the last days of June, 1859, the Pawnees being menaced by the Sioux, and making preparations to go on their buffalo hunt, they moved to the north side of the river with their families and effects. The next day they had the discomfiture of seeing the principal part of their village, which had taken years to build, go up in smoke. The'r council house, measuring sixty feet in diameter, was destroyed at this time.
The next day the tribe began to move their slow length along at the rate of fifteen or twenty miles a day. It was their usual custom to rise early in the morning and travel until midday and then rest themselves and stock for the next day's journey. Arrangements bad been made with the Omaha tribe to meet them somewhere upon the Elkhorn river to give the tribes more strength against the Sioux in case necessity required it.
On the 29th the Pawnees camped on Cuming creek, and on that day and the next they made a raid upon Captain Thomas S. Parks herd of cattle. Captain Parks had taken up quite a tract of fertile land, and before settling had purchased in Ohio a lot of thoroughbred stock. Most of this stock was killed or wounded as well as the other cattle in the herd. The loss was heavy, amounting to $1,100 or $1,200.
The loss could hardly be endured among the settlers of that early day. The word went around and the people became aroused at the situation.
As the Pawnees passed up the Elkhorn valley they continued their depredations, taking cattle and robbing families of their scanty supplies. At De Witt their depredations came to an end. Before this, word had been sent to Governor Black, then governor of the territory, for the protection of the settlers. Twenty-five men offered their services and went to DeWitt just in time to save the people and property of the last settlement. An engagement took place in which three Indians were shot and Dr. Peters wounded. The only alternative for the settlers and soldiers was to hustle themselves with their little effects and leave as fast as possible, in which they were successful, though they had been spied at the Pawnee camp
and were discovered catching their ponies, supposedly for an attack. The word went around and one can imagine the feeling of the people of the territory. Major General John M. Thayer was soon at Fontenelle, bringing word from Governor Black, then at Nebraska City, to rendezvous at the above place and call for a volunteer force of men to chastise the Indians. Word came to Fremont July 2d, from General Thayer asking for a volunteer force which should be ready when called for.
A meeting was called and the citizens responded to the call nobly. Additions came from North Bend and Maple Creek. The Fremont volunteer company consisted of forty men. They elected officers as follows: Captain, R. W. Hazen; first lieutenant, William West; second lieutenant, Henry Campbell; orderly sergeant, James Lee; wagon-master, W. F. Reynolds.
The formation of the company took quite all the available men in our little place and vicinity, leaving only a handful of men to protect our families, though we had no fears, as there was no enemy in the
And here it might not be out of place to mention the heads of families: Rev. and Mrs. I. E. Heaton, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Kittle, Mrs. Margaret Turner, Mr. and Mrs. George Turner, Mr. and Mrs. R. W. Hazen, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Flor, Mr. and Mrs. E. H. Rogers, Mr. and Mrs. L. W. Reynolds, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Moorland and Mr. and Mrs. J. G. Smith. All lived in log houses except Mr. Heaton and family. E. II. Barnard and Herman Kountze also occupied a cabin. When we
were celebrating our natal day, the Fourth of July, General Thayer dispatched a messenger, Lientenant George Hepburn, ordering us to rendezvous at Jalappa, on Maple creek, the next day. Upon arriving at the appointed place we met General Thayer and staff, Captain Ford and artillery of Omaha and Captain Kline of Fontenelle with about forty men.
General Thayer immediately inquired about our provisions, and we were directed to have our wagonmaster return to Fremont and get at least two weeks' provisions.
This day was well occupied in marching and countermarching, exercising the manual of arms and loading at three commands, which was much needed with raw recruits. In the meantime General Thayer received a message from Governor Black to make slow marches until his arrival. The next day, the 6th, we moved on to a point of ground near J. B. Robinson's mill. Before evening, Governor Black came up with quite a force and was saluted with a hurrah. The force consisted of Lieutenant Robinson, United States army, with nineteen mounted men, and Major General Curtis, United States army, and Captain Kennedy, of Florence, with a company of mounted horse. We then numbered all told not exceeding two hundred men, but well equipped for the emergeney. The governor thought a complete organization of officers should be made for our batallion, and it was, as follows: Major General Thayer, commander; General E. Esterbrook, of Omaha, adjutant general; Major Curtis, inspector general; Lieutenant R. N. Robinson, lieutenant colonel.
Each captain retained his position as captain of his company, excepting Sergeant Robinson, who was made commander of the United States dragoons. Dr. Peck, of Omaha, was appointed army surgeon. A complete organization having been made, on the oth we took up our line of march, making from twenty-five to thirty miles per day, following the Indian trail in its meanderings.
There was nothing to mar our feelings and the boys were jubilant and resolute, and many were speculating upon booty—the number of ponies they would take back to pay them for the expedition. Daily we found signs of the nearer approach of the Indians, and on the 12th in the afternoon, we spied a small group of tepees at a distance. It proved to be a camp of the Omaha tribe. From one of the Omahas we learned that the Pawnees were in camp some eight or ten miles in advance. Making friends with him and pursuading him to keep the matter of our intentions a secret, he was sent forward to the Omaha camp to instruct them to part from the Pawnees in the morning on seeing us coming. The order was carried out.
General Thayer visited his men in the evening, ordering them to be ready for the march at 2 o'clock in the morning. Under the excitement but very few closed their eyes that night, not knowing what the morning might bring forth. At 2 o'clock the bugle sounded the reveille. The men and teams were, soon ready; we started in more than usual quick time to reach the Indians before daylight and in their camp. We reached their camp just as the sun was rising in the East. They, hearing the rumbling sounds of the train, quite all had left in a hurry, leaving their pots and kettles boiling their soups upon the crotches and poles. A detention of