« ZurückWeiter »
ing and the next day with friends at the fort and the vil lage. I took leave of all on Saturday, the 25th July, and, as was the general belief, forever. The count, being full of the exploring fever, started with the military.
The climate of Green Bay is at all times pleasant, but at this season delightful. I was to have overtaken the count at the portage of the Grand Kockalas ; but, on my arrival there, found he had gone on. Proceeding to the little Kockalas, about four miles higher up, I encamped. Fell in with two Indians in a canoe, fed them, and they kept us company. Heard guns in the direction of the fort, supposed it an arrival, as no attack was likely to be made upon it by a force that should not first pass us. Heavy dew that night ; it dripped from my tent like rain. I had, without knowing it, pitched my camp within two miles of the military
The morning broke in all its beauty. Never did the sun shine out with more brilliancy or loveliness, and never was there a sweeter day. It was the Sabbath—and here seemed another proof that our world, and those rolling orbs above us, and the ethereal, had combined to impart a more than natural beauty to this day of rest, by mingling with it those softer and quieter influences that would seem to belong to its sanctity. Such was the Sabbath—the 26th July, 1827. I had come in about nine hours a distance that it had taken the barges from three o'clock of the evening of Thursday, till nine o'clock of the following Sunday, to make; in all, sixty-six hours. This, however, is not the usual disparity of speed between a well-manned canoe and equally well-manned barges. The portage of the Kockalas had to be made, and the heavy material of war, with the provisions, &c., were also to be carried over it; and the current here is very rapid.
We passed Le Petit Butte de Morts. The buildings we had put up for the security and safe-keeping of our provisions and goods, &c., had been all fired by the Indians. A thick smoke hung over the ground—the top of the priest's pole and cross being above it, upon which the sun shone in his beauty, contrasting strongly with the murkiness of all beneath and around them. But there was Winnebago lake placid as a mirror, with not a breeze to ruffle its surface, or disturb its repose. A few Indians near the Butte, who had remained on the ground, on recognizing us, ran to the shore, and saluted us with their rifles. I found the count there, but in trouble. His canoe was not entirely the thing I had hoped it would prove to be, nor did those who were in it know how to manage it with skill, or work it with success. I found him a better, and provided him additional and more skilful help.
On reaching the Grand Butte de Morts, I discovered that Rolette had broken Major Whistler's orders, and gone on. To avoid all the consequences, as well those feared by Major W. as others that might arise between the parties, for this violation of military law, I resolved to give chase. So leaving a note with an Indian, for Major Whistler, informing him of my object, I proceeded to pursue and stop Rolette. I supposed from information given by an Indian, that he was about two miles ahead. This I found to be a mistake. The importance of stopping him increased as he advanced in the enemy's country; and my anxiety grew with it. I pushed on, hoping to reach him at an encampment. Night set in, but no tidings of Rolette. I kept on, and continued on all night, stopping neither to eat or sleep, except once to give the voyagers a half hour's nap, when I ordered the bowsman to stick a pole down in the river, tie the canoe fast to it, and then all hands to pull their blankets over them, lean forward, and go to sleep. I never knew an order more promptly obeyed. The dew was again heavy; it dripped like rain-drops from my umbrella. In about half an hour I awakened the sleepers, and we proceeded. The morning came, but Rolette was not in sight. Landed at sun-rise, and breakfasted. Heard guns on our right. Supposed them to indicate Rolette's whereabouts. Kept on, when at about eleven o'clock, A. M., in one of the bends of this tortuous river, and in a broad part of it, saw his six barges with sails all set, looking like a fleet. My voyagers set up a chant, and within half an hour I was up with him. I made known the object of my pursuit, and the motives that had prompted me to engage in it, requesting him to go ashore. He complied cheerfullywhen I addressed a letter to Major Whistler, stating our position, and also Rolette's entire readiness to acquiesce in his views; the reasons that had led him to disobey the order that had been addressed to him, &c., and despatched an Indian in his light canoe, knowing that this downstream message would soon be in the hands of Major Whistler, and that his fears, if he had any, would be put to rest. I had come from Le Grand Butte de Morts, to where I overtook Rolette, eighty miles, against a strong current.
EXPEDITION AGAINST THE WINNEBAGOES. SURRENDER, RE
CEPTION, AND APPEARANCE OF RED-BIRD.”
Encampment at Rush lake-Windings of the Fox river—Major Whistler and Roletie—A successful mediation-Remarkable celestial phenomenon-An omen
- The snake and the bear-Ceremony of taking them—A fine position on the Fox river-Shooting a crane-Arrival at the portage—Encampment—Disarming and detention of a party of Winnebagoes_Object of the expedition-Indian diplomacy-Surrender of the murderers—Heroism of the act—Their arrival and reception-Noble appearance and dignified deportment of “Red-Bird" -Solicitude of his people for him-His brief talk-Miserable appearance of WE-kau, his accomplice–Mode of catching the rattle-snake-Preventive against his bite-Portage to the Ouisconsin.
Our first business was to select a suitable position for an encampment. The grounds opposite the place of our meeting presenting, on neither side of the river, a favorable one, we continued five miles further on, and at noon encamped on the north-western shore of Rush lake. From this place, we were not over three miles, in a straight line, from the portage of the Fox and Ouisconsin rivers, and yet, such are the windings of Fox river, we were destined to go at least twenty miles before we could reach it.
At night we set a guard of twelve men, and ordered all hands to have their arms ready. We were not long in camp before four Winnebagoes came in, offering to sell squashes. I directed them to be detained. At nine o'clock the next morning the count arrived, well, and glad to see
The military did not get up till August 31st—two days after the count, and three days after my arrival. Meantime, six squaws came in with potatoes and squashes. Bought them, and let the squaws pass on. The next day, five Indians arrived, with their faces painted black. They had been in battle, and had lost friends, and were in mourning, after this their fashion, for them. Took them in charge, and examined them. Finding they were not of the party who had committed the murder at Prairie du Chien, gave orders for them to pass.
The arrival of the military on the 31st, brought Major Whistler and Rolette together, and myself as mediator. My letter to the major, by the Indian, had been received, but his dander was up, as Major Jack Downing would say, and required something additional, of the soothing sort, to lay it. I had, on going, ashore with Rolette, obtained of him guns and ammunition for our hitherto unarmed one hundred and twelve Indians, for which I gave a receipt, and the obligation either to return them as they were, or pay damages, or the price of the guns. I made use of this facility, and the cordial manner in which Rolette had assented to supply the arms, in connexion with the fact that he had not disregarded Major Whistler's injunction from any want of respect either for it, or for the commanding officer; and was happy to see harmony restored, and a mutual intercourse of friendly civilities forthwith take place.
A party of our Indians who were strolling about, had captured a rattle-snake, and found a fine bear in a trap. I. had been in trouble with this part of our force, and feared we should lose it. Matters of fact with the civilized and enlightened, are made of no more stubborn materials, and have no more effect on the white man, and sometimes, indeed, not so much, as has superstition on the untutored Indian, in forming his purpose, and fixing his resolves. It was about this time that the heavens presented a remarkable phenomenon, in a belt of pure white, which crossed them from horizon to horizon. Its direction was across the line of our movements. This, the Indians, after consultation, had interpreted into a bad omen, and looked upon it as a barrier put across their path by the Great Spirit, in