The following narrative of the expedition against the Sauk and Fox Indians, last year, has been kindly furnished by an officer who served in Gen. Atkinson's Brigade. We have taken the liberty to omit the introductory paragraph.
Black Hawk's War: Indian Campaign of 1832
The Sauks and Foxes, forming one nation of Indians, occupying, until 1831, more or less of the country on both banks of the Mississippi, for about 150 miles above, and the same distance below, Rock Island, have always manifested, as a people, a hostile feeling towards the people of the United States. During the war with Great Britain, they were active and exceedingly useful allies of the English; repeatedly, and (as they boast) always successfully engaged against us. Several detachments of our army and militia were, previously to 1815, defeated by this warlike people. Since the latter date, the hostile feeling has been openly shown, only by a portion of the combined nation, (Sauks and Foxes) called the "British Band," of which a chief called Muck-ut-tay Mich-e-kaw-kaik (the celebrated Black Hawk) was the head. This band occupied the territory on the east bank of the Mississippi, principally along the Rock River, and ordinarily numbered about 400 warriors.
By a treaty, duly signed and ratified, the Sauks and Foxes, previously to 1831, conveyed that portion of their country
322lying east of the Mississippi, to the United States; and our settlers advanced to the shores of Rock river; the Indians so far acknowledging the treaty as to abandon the country and cross the Mississippi, where the majority, (if not all) took up their residence for a time.
In 1831, (the spring) Major General Gaines, commanding the western department, learned, by express, that the Indians in great numbers had re-crossed the river, commenced a system of aggression on the whites, and, by threats, and in some instances by violence, had driven off many families, and bade fair to succeed in their design of breaking up the settlements along the frontier of Illinois. The General promptly moved, with such troops as he could find disposable, (the 6th regiment and a small portion of the 3rd) to the scene of difficulty. Here he found the tone of the Indians so high, and their deportment so insufferably insolent, that, apprehending the necessity of an immediate resort to blows, he called on the Governor of Illinois for an auxiliary force of mounted militia; and made preparations to enforce the demand he had already made of the Indians, to evacuate the ceded territory. After much delay, and an unusual display of reckless audacity
Within four months after the signing of this treaty, a numerous war party of this very band ascended the, Mississippi, landed on the east bank, and within the limits of the American village of Prairie des Chiens, attacked a body of Menominies, (a nation distinguished for their unalterable friendship for the United States) and murdered, it is believed, twenty-eight individuals. It was for the purpose of demanding and obtaining the leaders in this outrage on our flag and laws, that Brigadier General Atkinson was ordered with his regiment (the 6th) to ascend the Mississippi, in the spring of 1832; and although circumstances have shown, that the Secretary of War, with the acuteness of judgment for which he is distinguished, aided by a thorough knowledge of the Indian character, clearly foresaw the result to which the disposition of the Indians would lead; yet very few others anticipated any occurrences more bloody than those of the preceding spring.
On the 8th April, '32, the force under Gen. Atkinson, -- six
323companies of the 6th regiment, with an aggregate of about 280, embarked at Jefferson Barracks, and proceeded up the river, in obedience to the orders before mentioned. At the Des Moines Rapids (200 miles above) it was first learned by the detachment, that the Indians meditated, not only resistance to the demand for the surrender of the murderers, (which talks with some of the frontier commanders had taught them to expect,) but the seizing and holding the territory, "the debateable land," which they had already twice or thrice ceded to the United States. Accounts here gave the number of warriors at between 600 and 800, who had already ascended the river towards Rock Island. The detachment of Gen. Atkinson arrived at Rock Island about the 12th April, and there ascertained, that on that day, or the day before or after, the Indians had entered the mouth of Rock River, and were ascending it.
The General also received correct and undoubted information of their numbers and condition. Different traders and others had carefully counted them, and reported the number of efficient warriors to be about 650, consisting of the British band (the Black Hawk's) the friends of the war party who had committed the murders at Prairie des Chiens, and about 120 Kickapoos. They were subsequently joined, on Rock River, by the Prophet's band. About 450 of this force was mounted; and it is but doing them justice to say, that they were very efficient cavalry, armed with good guns, spears, and tomahawks, on well trained horses; they never, it is believed, came in contact with our mounted force (both parties mounted) that the Indians did not come off the victors, whatever might be the disparity of numbers. Under their intention of holding the country, the Indians had brought with them their families, and their moveables of every description. They had said to many traders, that they were "going to keep possession of their old hunting grounds, and would never turn their faces to the west again; that they would not strike the first blow, but that if the Americans attempted to drive them back, they wore able and willing to give the whites war to their hearts' content." Accordingly, their course up the Mississippi and Rock River was, for some time, marked with great forbearance and moderation.
General Atkinson immediately summoned such of the chiefs of the nation as had not participated in the movement -- at the head of whom was Pask-e-paw-ko, Waw-pel-to, and Ke-o-kuck, demanded of them such of the murderers as were within their power, and warned them of the consequences which would result to them on their joining or aiding the invading bauds. The murderers (three being all within the control of these chiefs) were promptly surrendered, and the General was assured of the fidelity of the chiefs towards the government of the United States. The conference was ended by an order from the General
324for the friendly Indians to return to their homes west of the Mississippi, and remain there.
Two messengers, one a friendly Sauk chief, the son of Tay-e-mah, and the other a half-breed, whose father was a Frenchman, and his mother a Sauk woman, were despatched to the Black Hawk, by Gen. A. not only officially ordering him and his people (in the name of the President) to return, but individually advising him of the consequences of his persisting in his present enterprise. The demand for the surrender of the murderers was also made.
Up to this time it appeared to have been the general belief among the officers of the army, as it certainly was the opinion of the writer of this, that the Indians, almost always "more sinned against than sinning," would under the forbearing, dignified and determined course pursued by the General, be brought to a sense of their conduct and situation, and induced to comply with the demands of the government. But we were soon undeceived; the messengers returned, greatly alarmed, after having been abused and insulted, and compelled to escape at the risk of their lives. They brought from the Indians the most insolent and bullying replies to the General's message -- generally, in amount, ridiculing his demands, and challenging the Americans to come against them. About this time, also, Henry Gratiot, Esq. the sub-agent for the Winnebagoes of the mining country, obeying the impulse of his duty, intrepidly proceeded to the Black Hawk's camp, (near the Prophet's village) for the purpose of holding a council with the chiefs, to ascertain their object, and to warn them to return. The Indians not only refused to hear him, but tore down his American flag, erected the British flag, and took Mr. G. prisoner. There is little doubt that his fate would have been sealed, but for the interposition of the Winnebagoes, who purchased him of the Sauks, and restored him to liberty. We also learned, that the Sauks and Foxes had been instigated to their present course by the Prophet, (Waw-be-ka-schick) or the "white cloud," a half Winnebagoe and half Sauk, and possessing much influence with both nations from his assumption of the sacred character, from his talents, his inveterate hostility to the Americans, and his cold-blooded cruelty.
General Atkinson, an officer possessing all the requisites for command -- military skill, undaunted courage and perseverance, together with a knowledge of the Indian character, now commenced vigorous preparations for a campaign. He ordered such troops as could, with safety, be called from Forts Craw-ford and Leavenworth, to reinforce him; and was, in consequence, joined at Rock Island by four companies of the 1st Infantry, and subsequently at Dixon's Ferry, by two more companies of the 6th regiment from Fort Leavenworth. He took
325measures for collecting provisions and stores, and means for their transportation; a work of exceeding difficulty under all the circumstances, but in the execution of which he would doubtless have encountered greater delays, but for the efficient assistance derived from the different branches of the general staff. He notified the Governor of Illinois, (Reynolds) that the Indians had ascended Rock River, and entered the territories of the State in a hostile attitude. Lastly, the General took measures to secure the neutrality of the adjoining Indian nations, or should he deem it proper, their assistance. These preparations detained the troops at Rock Island three or four weeks, during much of which period, the weather was unusually cold and rainy, and our tents quite unfit for service, and useless as a shelter.
About the 9th day of May, provisions and boats having been collected, and a force of 1800 militia (1500 of whom were mounted) arrived, who had been ordered by Governor Reynolds to report themselves to the commander of the United States' troops; our force moved up Rock River; the regulars and a battalion of militia infantry under the command of Col. Taylor, 1st infantry and the mounted force under Brigadier Gen. Whitesides. Governor Reynolds accompanied this latter corps in person. The mounted brigade was ordered to proceed to the Prophet's village, about 30 or 40 miles by land, and 60 or 70 by water; while the regular force was charged with the severe and unpleasant duty of dragging up the river the provisions and stores for the whole, in boats, one a keel of 90 tons, one of 30 tons, and a number of Mackinac boats. It is unnecessary to describe this duty, further than to say, that the weather was cold; and that for many days the troops, so employed, had not a dry thread on them; compelled to wade against a rapid stream, dragging or lifting the boats along, from daybreak until night. On our arrival at the Prophet's village, it was found that the mounted militia had advanced to Dixon's Ferry. About 30 miles below the last named point, an express informed our commander of the defeat of a battalion of the militia, under Major Stillman; and the troops were hastened forward with all possible despatch. At Dixon's Ferry, about 120 miles from the Mississippi, (by water) we learned the particulars of the first affair.
Major Stillman, commanding a volunteer battalion of Illinois militia, who had joined Governor Reynolds at Dixon's Ferry, and never been for a moment under the orders of Gen. Atkinson, had been detached by the Governor, at his own solicitation, to endeavour to ascertain the position of the Indians. -- Deceived by some individuals, who assured him that they had reconnoitred the country for 45 miles above Whiteside's camp, and that there were no Indians within that distance. Stillman
326encamped an hour before sunset, at 25 miles from Dixon's, in a well-chosen position, on a stream, since called Stillman's run. Very soon after pitching tents and unsaddling, some Indians were discovered on the open prairie, at a mile or two distance. The camp entirely filled a small open wood, which was on every side surrounded by open and clear prairie, slightly undulating; the strongest fortress could hardly have been more efficiently defended against a savage force than the camp in question, where an hundred men ought to have repulsed ten times their numbers of an attacking force. On the discovery of the Indians, (only two or three in number) the militia sallied out, as all agree, in great confusion -- some with saddles, and some without, and pursued and captured these Indians. Some one called out that three or four others were in sight; on which another pursuit occurred, in still greater disorder: the last Indians were overtaken, and two of them killed, it is said unresistingly and without provocation. In a few minutes others were descried advancing; their numbers, no doubt, appeared in the dusk of the evening much greater than they really were, and a panic seized the white. "Sauva qui peut," was the word; or rendered into backwood English, "the devil take the hindmost!" and the whole corps fled, without firing a well-directed shot. They passed, running directly through their camp, plunged into the creek, and did not halt until they arrived at Dixon's, where they came straggling in for twenty hours. Twelve of the whites and four of the Indians, including those first wantonly slain, were killed. It is asserted by the enemy that this route was caused by less than one hundred Indians, and the pursuit continued through the night by less than thirty. There were doubtless many gallant fellows in Stillman's corps, and it is difficult to account for this, as well as other similar affairs, between the whites and the Indians, save by attributing it to want of discipline, and of mutual confidence among themselves.
The army continued their advance up Rock River to Stillman's run, having left the defeated corps to guard the sick, wounded and provisions at the depot at Dixon's. At Stillman's run, Gen. Atkinson was overtaken by an express, with intelligence that the corps left to guard the depot had determined to abandon their charge and return home. He also ascertained that the enemy had moved rapidly up Sycamore Creek, (called by the Indians "Kish-waw-kee") towards its head. The mounted force (now about 2,000) was despatched in pursuit, and the regular infantry ordered to occupy the depot at Dixon's Ferry. Whitesides accordingly moved up Sycamore Creek, with his command for two or three days, pursuing, without, however being able to get sight of the enemy. The next intelligence from this corps, received by the General, gave the information that they had proceeded
327across the country to the Illinois River, and disbanded themselves, or been discharged. This was said to have been brought about from some cause connected with the local political parties of the State.
The General, with his staff, immediately proceeded across the country, to the Illinois River, and by much exertion succeeded in inducing a few companies of mounted men to volunteer to assist in protecting the settlements.
Within a few hours after the General's departure, intelligence arrived at the Ferry, by expresses, that the enemy had struck the settlements at different points, 80 or 90 miles apart, and committed butcheries with all the accustomed horrors of Indian warfare. On the same day, the report of a few mounted men of the disbanded militia, who arrived, induced the serious apprehension, that the General had been cut off in his journey across the country. Fortunately our fears proved to be without foundation. Among the sufferers, the fate of no one excited more sympathy than that of Felix St. Vrain, Esq. Indian Agent for the Sauks and Foxes, who had accompanied the army to Dixon's Ferry, where he had obtained leave to return and secure his family at Rock Island. On his way to Galena, with a party of seven men, they were attacked by a large party of Indians commanded by the Prophet, and Mr. St. Vrain and three others most barbarously murdered; the others made their escape.
By indefatigable exertions Gen. Atkinson succeeded, in less than three weeks, in calling out a new militia mounted force, (for it was already found that the war could not be successfully prosecuted against a well-mounted enemy, by infantry alone,) in organizing it anew, and in procuring provisions and land transportation for a new movement.
In the meantime, however, several little affairs occurred. -- Two companies of regular troops, with a company of mounted men, had been despatched to Kellogg's Grove, for the purpose of occupying the country between Rock and Fever Rivers, and dispersing a party of the enemy known to be lurking therein. While there, the Indians, who daily watched the movements of this detachment and the different portions of it, in their various excursions, carefully avoided the regular troops; but seizing their opportunity, they attacked the militia on their return to the camp, and beat them, killing three of their number. The Indians lost four. After remaining at Kellogg's Grove ten days, this party was ordered in, and it was replaced by a battalion of militia 250 strong, commanded by Major Dement. This battalion, the day after their arrival at the position, were attacked and defeated by 130 Indians under command of the Black Hawk, who drove the whites into their stockade, and besieged them, until relieved by Gen. Pozey with the residue of the brigade, when the Indians leisurely withdrew. --
328About this time, also, Gen. Dodge, (now Col. Dodge of the United States' Dragoons) with a party of 28 mounted men, learned that certain murders had been committed in the neighborhood of Fort Hamilton, and pursued the murderers. Dodge and his party overtook the enemy, (who they found to be a party of fifteen Sauks,) and after a sharp conflict, killed every one of them with loss of three whites.
On the 28th June, the army again advanced on the enemy. Our force consisted of upwards of 100 regular infantry, and Henry's brigade of 1,000 mounted militia. Brig. Gen. Brady, of the United States' Army, had in the mean time joined, and by order of Gen. A. assumed command of this division of regulars and militia. A company of regulars were left to guard the depot at Dixon's Ferry, and Pozey's and Alexander's brigades detached and disposed so as to protect the settlements. On the third July we found ourselves in the neighborhood of the enemy, who however occupied an inaccessible position, in a swamp a few miles from us. They had retired before us, and in several instances we found in their camps scalps and heads previously taken and left in triumph. They also for several days, left in their camps a sort of guide-post, with a wisp of hay done up, and so fixed as to indicate their direction. This, however, was mere bravado, as they avoided a conflict, though it was eagerly sought by the army. The force of the enemy, at this time, could not have been far from 1,000 efficient warriors, nearly all mounted.
Our marching had become exceedingly disagreeable and difficult; wading through swamps and morasses; our provisions and baggage on pack-horses, frequently damaged and falling short by the horses sinking in the swamps. Every exertion had been made to procure guides, but in vain. Such Winnebagoes or Pottawattomies as joined us or could be taken, were either ignorant or treacherous.
On the 6th July we reached a deep and muddy stream, called, most inaptly, white water, beyond which, we were informed by the Winnebagoes, we should find the enemy. With much difficulty we forded or swam this stream, or rather the first of its three branches; and after a perplexing march of twelve or fifteen miles, we arrived where the friendly Indians assured the General with one voice, that further advance was impossible, having arrived, as they said, and as it appeared, at a wilderness of that description of morass called by the French terre tremblante. We had no resource but to retrace our march, for the purpose of reaching and crossing Rock River, to reach the enemy by moving up the other bank. Arrived again at the mouth of White water, the mounted force under Generals Henry and Dodge Was despatched with the pack horses to Fort Winnebago for provisions.
Under these vexations and disappointments, we had the satisfaction of knowing that our enemy were completely besieged; cut off from all their resources. Gen. Atkinson knew that they must soon be driven by famine to give us battle or to retreat from their present position, when he had little doubt of overtaking them. He, therefore, took such measures as prevented their escape. To enable a company to guard our provisions and sick, when we should again advance, a stockade was erected, which was called Fort Kush-ko-nong. Here we learned by despatches from Major Gen. Scott to our commander, of the arrival of that officer with his troops at Chicago, and that the "Asiatic cholera" was raging among them: -- this was the first intimation any individual of our command had received of the existence of this disease on this continent. We also received other disagreeable and mortifying intelligence through the public prints and from other sources -- the censure conveyed in insinuations and inuendoes by certain prints; the information from private letters; and perhaps the tone of official despatches, all gave us too clearly to understand, that thus far for our toil, exposure, and exertions, we had received nothing but censure; how unjustly, every individual of the army knew and felt.
On the arrival of the provisions, a new guide (an Indian chief,) was procured, who promised to conduct the army to the enemy's camp; his services were gladly accepted, and the army once more advanced, through the swamps, in the direction of the enemy. When again within a few hours march of them, the night set in, with the most tremendous storm of rain and wind, thunder and lightning, that the writer ever witnessed. Before morning, an officer overtook us with information from Gen. Henry, that the enemy had retreated by crossing Rock River, and that the mounted corps of Henry and Dodge, having fallen on the fresh trail of the retreating Indian army, had taken that trail in pursuit, after despatching the express to Gen. Atkinson. Instantly we commenced our retrograde movement again; that evening arrived at Fort Kosh-ko-nong: the next day passed round Lake Kosh-ko-nong, and forded Rock River below the Lake.
Our marches were now forced and severe. One day we marched, it is believed, near twenty miles, during a hot day, without water. Before the arrival of the army at the Wisconsin, we were met by the intelligence that Henry and Dodge had come up with and attacked the roar of the enemy near the river, and defeated it. Rafts were forthwith constructed at the Wisconsin, and the army crossed that river, at a small place called Helena, on the 27th July; and within two hours afterwards struck the trail of the enemy. Their trail gave evidence that their numbers must be considerable. Their order of march
330was in three parallel columns. Over the dry prairie, the route of each column was worn from two to six inches in the earth; and where the ground was such as for a moment to interrupt their regular order of march, their trail appeared like an ordinary road which had been travelled for years, wanting only the tracks of wheels.
From this time until we reached the Mississippi, we continued without deviation to follow the trail of the enemy, having no other guide; and it led, doubtless with a view of baffling the army, over such a country as, I venture to say, has seldom been marched over: at one moment ascending hills, which appeared almost perpendicular; through the thickest forest; then plunging through morasses; fording to our necks, creeks and rivers; passing defiles, where a hundred resolute men might repulse thousands, whatever their courage or capacity; next clambering up and down mountains perfectly bald, without so much as a bush to sustain a man. It was in this march that our infantry regained their confidence in their own powers, which (lacking the powers of rapid locomotion to make a dash against the enemy,) had been somewhat impaired early in the campaign. They far out marched the horsemen, nearly all of whose horses were broken down.
The enemy were under the impression that it was impossible for us to follow them; and to that error we probably owe our ultimate success in overtaking them, or at least in bringing them to action, on grounds of equality. We, each day, made two of their day's marches, and passed one or two of their camps. We frequently passed their dead, who, exhausted by wounds or fatigue, had expired, and fallen from their horses: on the 1st August we passed the bodies of eleven. A little before sunset that day, we learned from a prisoner that the enemy were but a few miles in advance of us. Up to this time, not a man of the army knew where we were, save that we were north of the Wisconsin, and on the enemy's track. We marched until after dark, hastily encamped, slept two or three hours, when reveillee beat, and we were again in march before daybreak on the 2nd August.
At a little after sunrise, we discovered the curtain of mist hanging over the Mississippi, and the scouts in advance (a detachment of Dodge's corps) announced the vicinity of the enemy. We were halted for an instant, our knapsacks and baggage thrown off, and our pack horses left. We then advanced rapidly into the timbered land; and the occasional shots in advance confirmed the report of the scouts. This firing was from a select rear-guard of the enemy, about seventy in number.
Our order of battle was promptly arranged, under the personal supervision of Gen. Atkinson; the centre composed of
331the regular troops, about 380 in number, and Dodge's corps, about 150; the right, of the remains of Pozey's and Alexander's brigades, probably in all 250 men; the left, of Henry's brigade, in number not far from 400 men. This last was, throughout the campaign, a most excellent militia brigade, and well commanded. The army advanced by heads of companies, over a space of two or three miles. At length, after descending a bluff, almost perpendicular, we entered a bottom thickly and heavily wooded, covered also with much under-brush and fallen timber, and overgrown with rank weeds and grass: plunged through a bayou of stagnant water, our men as usual holding up their arms and cartridge boxes. A moment after, we heard the yells of the enemy; closed with them, and the action commenced.
As I have already been more prolix than I had intended, I refer your readers to the official account of the battle. Suffice it to say, that quarters were in no instance asked or granted. The official reports give the number of killed of the enemy, at 150; though doubtless many were killed in the river and elsewhere, whose bodies were never seen afterwards. Our loss was but 27, among whom was one officer, Lieut. Bowman, a gallant fellow of Henry's brigade. This disparity of loss was probably owing to the rapid charge made by our troops on the enemy, giving them time to deliver but one confused fire. -- About 150 horses were taken or killed. The Black Hawk, the Prophet, and some other chiefs escaped from the action, but were brought in by the Winnebagoes, and the friendly portion of the Sauks, and ultimately delivered to the commanding general.
After the action, 100 Sioux warriors presented themselves, and asked leave to pursue on the trail of such of the enemy as had escaped. This was granted, and the Sioux, after two days pursuit, overtook and killed 50 or 60, mostly, it is feared, women or children.
The afternoon previous to the action, the steamboat Warrior, on her return from the Sioux villages above, with some officers and 20 or 30 soldiers of the United States' army, discovered the Indian army on the bank of the Mississippi, (exactly where General Atkinson subsequently attacked them,) engaged in constructing rafts, and other means of crossing the river. The enemy for some time endeavoured to decoy the steamboat to the shore, assuring those on board, that they (the Indians) were Winnebagoes, &c. A sharp skirmish was finally the result, in which several of the Indians were killed, and one soldier wounded. The Indian loss is differently reported by themselves at from 7 to 23. The steamboat returned to Prairie des Chiens, and arrived again opportunely at the close of the action the following day.
The troops moved down the river to Prairie des Chiens, where they were met by Maj. Gen. Scott, who with his staff had left the brigade at Chicago, prostrated by an enemy far more terrible than the savages -- the cholera -- and was hastening to take part in the campaign. The wounded were left at this place, and the army descended to Rock Island, where they arrived in fine health and spirits on the 9th August. Indeed, it is astonishing how perfectly healthy the troops had been, during much and great exposure to the ordinary causes of disease; up to this time, not a death from disease had occurred during the campaign, among the regular troops. They had borne, without the slightest murmur, their fatigues and privations, and scarcely an occasion for the most trifling punishment had been given, from the time the army took the field. It has never been the fortune of the writer, during a service of twenty years, to witness for a length of time, the conduct of any command so perfectly exemplary.
About the 20th August the troops from Chicago arrived, under the command of Col. Eustis, and were encamped about four miles from the command of General Atkinson. Poor fellows! we listened with sincere condolence to the tale of their wretched sufferings from disease; few of us imagining that we should call on them, so soon, to reciprocate our sympathy.
About the 26th August, a case of cholera exhibited itself; this was followed by several others, and the ravages of this shocking disease then became truly dreadful. The troops were encamped in wretched tents, in close order of encampment, and for several days of continued cold rain, the pestilence ranged. Every man in camp could hear the groans and screams of each individual attacked by spasms, which added greatly to the horrors of the scene. During a very few days, 4 officers and upwards of 50 rank and file, out of about 300 infantry, became its victims. The rangers, also, (encamped near them) suffered severely. It is but rendering justice to Major Gen. Scott (then our commander) to say, that his conduct at Rock Island during the period of horrors, was worthy the hero of Chippewa, Fort George, and Niagara. By his example, exciting confidence and courage; fearlessly exposing himself to disease and death, in its most terrible form, in his attentions alike to the officer and the private soldier; while he enforced, with the most vigilant care, the strictest sanitary regulations. At length the troops were moved across the Mississippi, (not out of sight of their late camp) and the pestilence ceased.
The Indians sued for peace. A treaty was held at Rock Island, by which the whole country east of the Mississippi, called the mining district, and a large tract on the west bank, (probably in the whole about 8,000,000 acres) was ceded to the United States, and all the surviving insurgent chiefs of note
333were to remain in confinement, as hostages, during the pleasure of the President.
And thus ended the Sauk war!
About the 28th September, the troops were ordered to their respective stations.
In the foregoing narrative, the writer is aware that he might have more interested his readers by details of individual scenes; but the fear of being insufferably prolix, has induced him to confine himself to a general account of the campaign, leaving the minutiae to some future opportunity. He is aware, that in his views of causes and results, he must necessarily differ from some, but he believes this narrative will be acknowledged to be in the main correct. H..
The communication which follows was forwarded anonymously, with a condition by the writer, "that if any part is published, the whole shall be." The only parts to which the editor would have objected are, the address to the President of the United States and the references to him individually, as inappropriate and not according to the style usually adopted in discussing subjects in a periodical work; -- in newspapers, the custom is different. Had the editor been left at discretion, he would have omitted the first and last paragraphs and all references or address to the President. If it be desirable to bring to his notice any subject within the scope of his authority, he is no doubt ready to listen to suggestions, and to apply the remedy where needed.
The remarks of a writer would be quite as likely to attract the notice of those, whose attention it is desirable to draw to a subject, if made in general terms, as if addressed individually.
These observations are offered, not only with reference to the communication in question, but to the ordinary course recommended to be pursued by writers in similar cases.
The evils and inconveniences of which the writer complains are feelingly described, and in such a way too, as to leave little or no doubt that he has himself witnessed them. His suggestions are well deserving of, and it is hoped may receive, consideration from those who have the power to apply the corrective.
SIR -- Believing you cannot, feel indifferent to the interests of a profession with which a large share of your distinguished fame is identified, an humble member thereof is emboldened to bring to your especial notice a subject over which you only
334can take a controlling cognizance, as with you only lies the remedial power to check the evil of which the writer is about to complain.
There are many matters appertaining to the Army, calling loudly for a supervising and reforming attention, most of which had their origin in a remote day, and under peculiar circumstances. Of these, there are some owing their present existence to the absence of individual concernment in them, how large soever may be that of the public; while others find support in personal interest and guardianship manifested in the frequent and loud expression of opinion on the part of those who are benefitted. Among the first class may be numbered the Articles of War, and several other enactments relative to the Military establishment. Of these, it is not the intention of the writer to speak; for however satisfied in his own mind of their susceptibility of, and indeed the necessity of their amendment, he deems the subject as too nearly a judicial one to warrant a gratuitous offer of his opinions. Among the second class may be enumerated certain alleged rights and privileges of persons and of corps; such, for example, as the right of a senior to a separate command, although the interest of the Government may require that a junior should have such command; such as the claim to promotion by virtue of seniority, when the interest of Government requires it to be otherwise; (see complaints about recent appointments in the Ordnance and Dragoons); and when, indeed, the practice of promoting by seniority, so far from finding its origin in a right, owes its existence to the beneficent supposition by Government that the senior, as such, is best filled for advancement; and, again; such as the claim of particular arms of service, to a particular class of posts, &c. It is the object of this article to ascertain the basis and strength of this last mentioned pretension, as it of all has heretofore attracted the least attention. The other subject of this second class, embracing some not stated, although not definitely settled, and beyond question by regulations, as they should be, are yet from frequent practical construction approximating to a sound decision. Such is not the fact, however, with the point to which your attention is invited; for although long acquiescence in a certain routine or distribution may seem to have put the matter to rest, it can be shown beyond doubt, if necessary, that such acquiescence by one at least of the parties concerned, did not grow out of any conviction that justice was fully meted out to them; but, that, it had its origin in that chivalric, soldier-like feeling which forbade personal considerations being opposed to public arrangements, and which looked to un-importuned authority for its due, rather than to loud complaints, however just, or written memorials, however able -- a course that would not now be departed from, but that the