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A Reminiscence Of Fort Snelling

A Reminiscence Of Fort Snelling image
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In a i iper lafely issued by the Minnesota State Historical Society there is an interesting nccount of tho exccution as Fort Snelling, in 1826, of tour Darotas wtio had killed oine Chippewas, w the relatives of the lnt'er. Mrs. Vnn Jleve, the aulhorof the narrative, was a ttlu gif I, and probably ehe and her motber are the only living witneeses of he event. Mrs. Van Cleve writes : "I clos.e my eyes and recall an eveling Stme forty-two years ago, when, in nne of thp etone. house near Fort Snelling, whieh w is our house at tbat time, a pleasant company of cfficers and iheir families were spending the evening wtb my parrnts. The dors were open, for the eather was warm, and one of the offisevg, Captain Cruger, was walking on the iiijza, whtn w ere all starled by tho Boutid of rapid firing very near ua The Captain rushtd into the houpe much agitated, exdnimiüg : 'rJ'hnt ballet al moa) grdzed rny car I' Whnt could it mean ; were the Iudians surrounding us ? "Soon the loud yells and slirii ks from the Iortiao camp neur our hoiieo made it evidcpt thut the trety of peace, made that afteruoon bet een the Sioux and Chippewas, had ended, as all ihee treat ii'g did, 'u treachery and bloodohed Tiie rineipal men of tho two nations had met at the ludían Ag'Tcy, and in the m-i-ei co of Major Talliifurrb, their Wbitp Father,' had made a soleoin :caty of pcaee. In llie evening al the igani of the Chippe"a chief, tbey i.d raiified 'his treaty by sinnkinu' the iipe of jeact' tnorether ; and then. bffore the ra ke of the eml)li-matio pipe had hared nway, the treiicherous Sious had rone-ont aiid dtliberate'y fiied ioto tbc wigwam, killi'g and wouuding sevnral il ihe unsuspüiiig inuia'ew. The Chipnwas, ol couise, returned tLe firc, and i is wan what hud Btartled and bidke ip tho pieasant litlle gaiheriDg at my i her's I ouee. "The Cliippewss gnught refi)g! ard )roieitiin Wi(.h their wounded within he viallsof tli3 fort, coiunianded at that ime liy Coloncl Jociah Snelling, from vhoai it wtiM nniiicil They were kind y carcd for. Oi e, a little girl, daugh er of the chief, escited mui h tympathy and I cannot lorget the interest I fe.t in kt, for she was hut a year or two older han m self, and it seeuift.1 U be po "ruei to'Sfiy put out her young life - She Ungen d bu' a íewdys in great agotiy, aud then God tiok ber out of ber )um. "Meanwhile our coloncl, a prompt and efficiënt oLDcer; demaudid of the Sioux he muiderere, and i a veiy fw diys, a body of Si' ux were sceu advauciu.' toward the fort, as was suppo-ed, to dtiver up the ttrimioala. Tvo companies wei e sent to mei t tlicm ud r0("ire ihe murtlerera t their hm. ds. SirangH to say, iilthough tbty had the men, they reftiped to give tlieiu up. Üur interpretar, I ca pot recull his name, fteppea out fiom uu:nii our soldit-rs and eiiid : '"If jou do not yield up these men )t?aceably, then as tnany leaves as ure on ;hesu trees, aud as mauy blades of gras." as you see beneatn your ieet, o many whtto dicd will come upon yu, bum your villiiges, aud detstroy your catión." "A fi w uiouienis' eorisidcration, a few nirri d words of oonsultation, and the uilty men were banded over to our tioops. The tribe followod as they wetetaken into the fort, nnd, m-iking a small 'nu withtD tjio walls, tlm condemned marched round and round it, einging their dca'h songs, mid tben were given up to be put in irons aud held in ousto dy uiitil time shuuid determine how many lives shoulti pay the forfeit ; for it is well kno'-vu thut Indian revenge is a life for a life, and the Colonel had de cided to give them iuto the hands of the i' jured tribe, to do with them as they would. "Sume weeks pacsed, and it was found that fivo lives wero to bo paid for in kind. A council of Chippewas decaed that the fivc selected from the pii.-oii ers dhould run the gauntlet, and tho decisión was approvcd. "Back over the lpse of these many years I p:iss, aud sauna to be a child i-gaiu, standing liy the side of my only brother, at the buck door'of my father'a boui-e. "The day '8 beautifiil, the sun ia so bright, the pruss is so green, uil nature is so stniling, it is hard to realizo what is going on, over yonder by the gravevard, in tliatorowd of men and women. For there are gMthered togeiher the Chippewas - old men, wmeu und ohild ren, wlio have couie out to wimoss or takc i art in thiu i-ct of retriliutive jus tice There are the bluecoate, loo, auc various badge ot the United Staten uniform, for it is nece-sary to tbrow ome rctjttuint ironnd these red mep, or there may bo wholesalo murder ; an borre on the shouldera of Lis yountr me'i, we -ee t lie fonn uf the wounded d:t'g ihief, regarding all ith cnlm sulhfuc ion and no doubt happy in the ihonjíht that liig diuth, so ner, wül O'l o nut utiaverged. And th re stands yjung bravea Lo have been b1mU e 1 as tlie xccutiom rs ; tlieir rifles are 1 ndod, tlie luckü oarefully exuinined, si r ■ tl all is rcaiiy wheu the word sliull be givf n. "There, too, undcr guard are the fiv men, whi are to pay the forieit for th-lives takea ho wantuniy aud treacherous iy"Away off, I cannot Uil how rumy roda, but itsccmcd to un chüdren a long run, are fiatinncd tlie ímux tribe, and that is the goal for wliich the wretched men must tun tor tbeir lives. "Aid uow all seems leady and wc atand on tip-toe, while ttie balls aud ciiuius are knocked olí and tho cap'ives are ct free. At a word oue of the doomed men sturtg, tlie nña with un t-niuu; iiim are fired, and under cover ol ihe -niuke the man falls dead. They re Imid, the word is given, nnother starts ith a bound lor home; but uh ! theaim i f tliose elear sishted, bluod-thiráty red me i is 'oi deadly ; and so, one after nuothcr, uu'. il fuur are down, 'And then the last, "Linie Six," whnm at th' distancn we cliil.lren read ilv recopnige, frorn bis comma'iding iieight end graeefiil form ; he 8 our friend and we hope he will pet home. - He starts; thry gre, the smoke clears awtiy ; and Ptill he is running; we clap nur bands and say 'he will got home :' b ;t nnotler volley, and our favorita, almo3t at the goal, springs into the air and cornos down dead. I cover my face and shcd tears of real sorrow for our 'riend. And now followg a (-cene that jegírarg description Tho budies, all warm nnd limp, are drafiged to the brow of Ihe hill. Men who, at tbo wight of lood, bccome almnst fienda, tesr off the reekini; scalps and baad them to the chief, who hngn them nround bis neck. Women aud ohildren with tomahawks and knives, out deep slahes into the oor bodes, and scoopinf? up the warm ilood with their handa eagerly drink ; hen, growing frantio, they dance and ing thiir boriid soilp songs, reoounting deeds of valor on the pirt of their brave muil, and telling of the Sio..x scalps aken at their last horrid feast, they eave the mutilated bodies - test. ring in be sud. "At nightfall they ara thrown over he bluff into tlie river, and mv brothnr and myself, awestruok and quieté race heir bideous voyage down the Missisip)i to the Qulf of Mexico. We lietnwake bat uiyht, talking of the dreadful sight we have sen ; and we try to think wliat he people of New Orlean will thi;ik, when they see those gnatly upturned 'uces and we talk with quivering ip and tearful oye of "Little Six," and of ihe many kind things he htia done for i, the bows aud arrows, the ruoctiuks of sutrar, the pretty beaded nmceasint ie h:i8 giveu us . and we wisb, oh, winh ie co'ili) have run faster or that ihe Jliippewa rifles hnd miseed firo. Ami we sleep nnd dreim of sonlps and riHes war wli ii's and frightful yells, aud wake wishing it had boen a d:eira. ''Next d:y the dying chief at up in )ed, pain'ed liiuiself füi' detüh, sang bis teaih sin, und with those five fresb ilo"dy fculps abi'iit hts n-'ck, lay down u (.1 died, calntly and peactfully, in the comfortable hope, no doubt, of a wel er me home in thoso 'happy honting 'rounds,' prepared by the 'Goud Spirit,' ín all those Indiana who are f;nthiul U their fri nds, and aenge themselves up-' on their focs "A f-'w years ngo I to!d this story to nother 'Little 8ix,' Old Shaknpee, os ie I y, with gyve- upon his leg-, in our uardliouse at Fort Snelling, uwaiint? exKCinion, for almost nuniberless coldilooded murderH, perpetrated during he dreadful massaere of 1862 H? re nu moered it all, aud bis wicked oid 'ace lightcd up with joy as bo t old nie ie was the con of that 'Little Six,' who nade po brave a run for his life ; and hu bowed as much pride and plessure in ibtening to the recital of his fa'hcrV reacherous conduct as the childreii of our great generala wül do some day as hey read or hear of deeds of bravery oi daring that their fatbeis huve done."


Old News
Michigan Argus