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The history of Columbia County, Wisconsin, containing an account of its settlement, growth, development and resources; an extensive and minute sketch of its cities, towns and villages--their improvements, industries, manufactories, churches, schools and societies; its war record, biographical sketches, portraits of prominent men and early settlers; the whole preceded by a history of Wisconsin, statistics of the state, and an abstract of its laws and constitution and of the constitution of the United States

Chapter III,   pp. 353-370 PDF (8.9 MB)

Page 353

                                   CHAPTER III.
                                 THE BLACK HAWK WAR.
     The months of June and July, 1832, were months of excitement in Fort
Winnebago and
its immediate vicinity, for it was known that the Sacs, painted and plumed,
at war with the
whites, with Black Hawk as their leader, had retreated up Rbck River. The
Sac chief, with
his braves, finally reached a point (Black Hawk Grove) just outside of what
is now the city of
Janesville, Rock County, where he remained some time in camp. It must not
be understood
that they were now at their former homes. This was not the case. It was not
then the country
of the Sacs, but of the Rock River Winnebagoes. The last mentioned had not
yet ceded their
territory east of Sugar River.
     While Black Hawk was in camp at the grove, which has received his name,
there were
brought in two prisoners-Sylvia and Rachel Hall; and it was there they were
handed over to,
the Winnebagoes.
     The tent-poles, ashes and brands of the Indian camp-fires, where the
two captives were given
over to the Winnebagoes by the Sac Indians, were plainly discernible when
the first settlers
located in the vicinity.
     Gen. Atkinson,'having arrived at the mouth of the Pecatonica, in pursuit
of the savages,
and, hearing that Black Hawk was further up Rock River, determined to follow
him, with the
intention of deciding the war bv a general battle, if possible. Black Hawk,
judging of his
intentions from the report of his spies, broke up his camp, near what is
now Janesville, and
retreated still farther up the stream to the foot of Lake Koshkonong, where,
on the west side of
the river, in what is now the town of Milton, Rock County, he again formed
a camp. Here he
remained some time, when he again removed, this time to an island in the
lake, still known as
Black Hawk's Island. It is in the southeast corner of the town of Sumner,
in Jefferson
County. He afterward made his way farther up the valley.
     The march of Gen. Atkinson in pursuit of Black Hawk through what is
now Rock County,
and his arrival at Lake Koshkonong, in the present county of Jefferson, where
he found the
Sac chief had eluded him, is best related by one who was present:
     "The 30th of June, 1832, we passed through the Turtle Village [now
the city of Beloit],
which is a considerable Winnebago town, but it was deserted. We marched on
about a mile,
and encamped on the open prairie, near enough to Rock River to get water
from it. We here
saw very fresh signs of the Sac Indians, where they had been, apparently,
fishing on that day.
Gen. Atkinson believed we were close to them, and apprehended an attack that
night. The
sentinels fired several times, and we were as often paraded and prepared
to receive the enemy;
but they never came, though, from the accounts given by the sentinels to
the officers of the
day, there was no doubt that Indians had been prowling aibout the camp.
     "July 1. We had not marched but two or three miles before an Indian
was seen across
Rock River, at some distance off, on a very high prairie, who, no doubt,
was a spy, and, likely,
was one that had been prowling about our encampment the night before. We
proceeded a few
miles further, and came to the place where the Indians, who had taken the
two Misses Hall
prisoners, had stayed for several days [near the present city of Janesville].
It was a strong
position, where they could have withstood a very powerful force. We afterward
discovered that they
always encamped in such places. We had not marched but a few miles from this
place before

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