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A Diary of the Black Hawk War


[The following brief diary kept during a portion of the Black Hawk War, was found among papers of Charles Gregoire, donated to The State Historical Society of Iowa by Mr. J. C. Gregoire of Dubuque, Iowa. There is no indication as to authorship in the manuscript itself, and investigations have so far failed to show by whom it was written. -- THE EDITOR.]



Apr 14. Genl Atki[n]son started on board the Steam Boat Enterprise for P du Chien, The hostile Indians have been heard near the Slew on the east side of R Island dancing

Apr 15 Frs Labusier, and Apenose a fox Indian, left Rock Island this day to go and see the British Band of Sac Indians on R. River for the purpose of persuading the Relations of Keokuk, Wapala, and others, to return to their relations, &c.

Apr 16 Labusier & Apenose returned, bringing news that the British Band of Sac Indians were about 18 miles above this place on Rock River moveing up; and expected they would reach the Proffets villiage tomorrow evening; Labusier & Apenose were badly received and threatened to be whip[p]ed, the Indians said that they had wa[i]ted for the American Troops to come over and fight them, but as they did not make their appearance they (the In[dians)] would continue


up to the Proffets Village a young man (one of [the] Manominie Murderers) said that the Lace which he held in his hand had only been used on the Manomenies, but he hoped to brake, or wear it out on the Americans, the Black Hawk said that he would be ready to die in 20 days.

Apr 17 The Steam Boat Dove, passed up this day, bound for Galena, full of Passengers. Katice and part of his band arrived today.

Apr 18 Genl Atkinson returned from P du Chien this morning on board the S Boat Enterprise

Apr 18, Wapala and Morgan's band arrived with some of the Manomminie Murderers, a consultation was held among the Indian[s] on the subject of delivering the murderers.

Apr 19. This day, a council was held at the camps near Fort Armstrong, by Genl Atkinson with the friendly Indians, after addressing a few words to the Genl they delivered up three of the principal foxes who were engaged in the Prairie du Chien affair, Genl Atkinson express'd his satisfaction at the good behaviour of the Foxes, and the friendly bands of Sacs.

Apr 24. Two Sacs went as express, by Request of Genl Atkinson to Black Hawk and his party, the message is to advise them to return to their own side of the Mississippi.

Apr 26 The express returned, bringing word from Black Hawk, Napope & Ke ne kan ne sat all saying that they had no bad intentions, but they


would not return to the west side of the Mississippi, they said they were going to the place where they had been invited, but did not say where that place was. in the evening, Keokuck came to me with one of the young men of the express, stating that Mr. H. Gratiot Sub agt & a Mr Cubbage were prisoners at the Proffets Village, I immediately went with Keokuck and the young man to Genl Atkinson and gave him information of the report.

Apr 27 Mr Gratiot arrived at Fort Armstrong and reported that the Sac Indians headed by Black Hawk and the mixt Band of Sacs & Winnegagoes with their leader the Proffet were determined on hostillities, he did not know that he was prisoner, but stated the manner in which he was treated to be unfriendly, they pulled down his flag and placed one of the British in its stead, he was surrounded by the Warriors who came and shook hands with him, after which, the One eye, (a Winnebago Chief who came down with Mr Gratiot), handed some tobacco to the Warriors, on which the[y] released him, when this was made known to Keokuck he said that Mr. Gratiot was prisoner and that he was redeamed by their axcepting the Tobacco from the Winnebago, Mr. Gratiot says those Winnebagoes who


came with him appeared to be allarmed but did not tell him the situation he was in. the Black Hawk sent Genl Atkinson's letter by Mr. Gratiot stating that if he sent officers to him they would fight them, that his heart was badly inclined

May 1st Mr John Kinny & Jos Danfourth returned today from Proffets Village they report that all the Indians have left the Village.

May 2 Part of the Troops left Rock Island this morning on board the S Boat Enterprise bound for Galena

May 4 Poy-ne-ka-ne-sa said that the Sac Indians of Rock River were returning to the west side of the Mississippi, that they had been disappointed about the assistance expected from the Winnebagoes and others, that he had left them all at Proffets Village three days ago.

May 5 Two Indians (Sa-sa-pe-man & Che-ke-qua) were sent this day, to ascertain if the Indians were at Proffets Village, or returning down.

May 7 Sa-sa-pe-man & Che-ke-qua returned bringing news, that they had seen no sign of the Indians but could get no further than a few miles above the Marei D'Ogee owing to the water and their Macasons being worn out.


Govr Reynolds with the Malitia arrived yesterday, at Rock River, commanded by Genl Whitesides.

May 8 Genl Atkinson went up Rock River to the Old Sac Village, on board the Steam Boat Java and paid a visit to Govr Reynolds, Genl Whitesides &c. after some consultation returned to Rock Island. -- The Troops from Praire du Chien arrived at R Island this day, on board the Steam Boat Enterprise -- the Steam Boat Dove from St. Louis arrived at about 12 O Clock this night

May 9 This day half past nine O Clock Genl Atkinson, with his troops left Rock Island on board the Steam Boat Java bound up Rock River; arrived at the Old Sac Village at 11 O Clock, the Malitia were still encamped on the large Island in Rock River op[p]osite the old village. no further movements were made this day.



1. This was the home of a Winnebago, White Cloud, generally called the Prophet. He was a crafty Indian who constantly encouraged Black Hawk's desire for war. The site of this village was in what is now Whiteside County, Illinois, and is occupied at present by the town of Prophetstown.

2. During the year 1831 a party under Black Hawk had fallen upon a band of Menominees encamped on an island opposite Prairie du Chien and had murdered all but one of them. This was in revenge for the murder during the preceding year of some members of the British Band by Menominees and Sioux.

3. Henry Gratiot had settled at an early date in the Galena lead mining region and held a powerful influence over the Winnebago Indians. For further information in regard to Gratiot see Washburne's Col. Henry Gratiot -- A Pioneer of Wisconsin in the Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Vol. X, pp. 235-260.

4. This Winnebago chief was more frequently known by the name of White Crow. -- See the Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Vol. X, pp. 495, 496.

5. This account of the mission of Gratiot to the Prophet's village corresponds very closely to that given by Wakefield, and is materially different from the one given by Washburne, the son-in-law of Gratiot. Compare Stevens's Wakefield's History of the Black Hawk War, pp. 37-40; Stevens's Black Hawk War, pp. 114, 115; Washburne's Col. Henry Gratiot -- A Pioneer of Wisconsin in the Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Vol. X, pp. 252-255; and Parkison's Pioneer Life in Wisconsin in the Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Vol. 11, p. 336.

6. Probably some swamp known at that time under the French name Marais D'Ogee is here referred to.