COMMENCEMENT OF THE SAUK WAR.
A few weeks after our return, my husband took his mother to Prairie du Chien for the benefit of medical advice from Dr. Beaumont, of the U.S. Army. The journey was made in a large open boat down the Wisconsin River, and it was proposed to take this opportunity to bring back a good supply of corn for the winter’s use of both men and cattle.
The ice formed in the river, however, so early, that after starting with his load he was obliged to return with it to the Prairie, and wait until the thick winter’s ice enabled him to make a second journey and bring it up in sleighs—with so great an expense of time, labor, and exposure were the necessaries of life conveyed from one point to another through that wild and desolate region!
* * * * *
The arrival of my brother Arthur from Kentucky, by way of the Mississippi, in the latter part of April, brought us the uncomfortable intelligence of new troubles with the Sauks and Foxes. Black Hawk had, with the flower of his nation, recrossed the Mississippi, once more to take possession of their old homes and corn-fields.
It was not long before our own Indians came flocking in, to confirm the tidings, and to assure us of their intention to remain faithful friends to the Americans. We soon heard of the arrival of the Illinois Rangers in the Rock River country, also of the progress of the regular force under General Atkinson, in pursuit of the hostile Indians, who, by the reports, were always able to elude their vigilance. It not being their custom to stop and give battle, the Sauks soon scattered themselves through the country, trusting to some lucky accident (and such arrived, alas! only too often) to enable them to fall upon their enemies unexpectedly.
The experience of the pursuing army was, for the most part, to make their way, by toilsome and fatiguing marches, to the spot where they imagined the Sauks would be waiting to receive them, and then to discover that the rogues had scampered off to quite a different part of the country.
Wherever these latter went, their course was marked by the most atrocious barbarities, though the worst had not, at this time, reached our ears. We were only assured that they were down in the neighborhood of the Rock River and Kishwaukee, and that they lost no opportunity of falling upon the defenceless inhabitants and cruelly murdering them.
As soon as it became certain that the Sauks and Foxes would not pursue the same course they had on the previous year, that is, retreat peaceably across the Mississippi, Mr. Kinzie resolved to hold a council with all the principal chiefs of the Winnebagoes who were accessible at this time. He knew that the Sauks would use every effort to induce their neighbors to join them, and that there existed in the breasts of too many