"From the New York Tribune. The Emigrants--Battle between the Indians and the Mormons--Nobleman among the Indians," Frontier Guardian and Iowa Sentinel, 23 July 1852, p. 2.
- Related Companies
- Company Unknown (1852)
ST. LOUIS, June 2, 1852.
We are beginning to receive an occasional item from the emigrants on the plains. Those who made their departure from St. Joseph and other points below that little city, seems to have escaped difficulties with the Indians. They have not been so fortunate in respect to health. Diarrhoea and other diseases of the bowels are quite prevalent among them, but as yet we have heard of but little mortality. Those who departed from Council Bluffs, and other points above the mouth of the Platte River, have encountered more of disease, and have besides had the misfortune to acquire the hostility of sundry roving bands of Ottoes, Puncas, Sioux, and Pawnees. Nearly all the northern division of emigrants are of the Mormon faith, and most of them are from England and Wales. Hence their difficulties with the Indians. Citizens from the western borders rarely experience any trouble from that quarter, as they comprehend something of the Indians character.
The rumors we have received here--and they amount to little else as yet--are, that the Mormons had not proceeded over one hundred miles from the Bluffs, following up the north bank of the Platte, when the Indians commenced the levying of black mail by stealing into their camp at night and driving off their cattle. This was repeated several nights in succession, when at length one of the night guards fried upon and wounded an Indian. Finding that no more could be hoped from silent and stealthy roguery, and exasperated at the wound inflicted upon their comrade, the red men determined upon more decisive measure. Accordingly, at the dead hour of midnight, when the whole Mormon emigration were sleeping in assured security in the valley of the Elk Horn river, the Indians charged on horseback into their midst, firing arrows and shooting guns at random, and yelling as if all pandemonium were let loose.
The consternation of the emigrants, who knew little of savage habits, was very great, but they were driven by sheer necessity to a vigorous defence. So soon as the Indians discovered that the camp was thoroughly aroused, they retreated as precipitately as they originally charged, driving before them as many horses and oxen as they could. The rumor is that two of the emigrants were killed and several wounded. What injury the Indians received no one knows. A consiterable number of horses and cattle were lost. Those who have never witnessed an Indian attack would be amazed to see how little injury they succeed in effecting The fury of their charge and the noise they mak create serious apprehensions, for which, after their retreat, it is discovered there is but little cause. I give you the account as it reached us to-day.--If it be true we shall hear of more outrages of a like character.
Mr. Fits William, the son of Earl Fits William, left this city with a small party of companions, for the mountains a few days ago. He expects to return late in the fall The route he will take going and returning is, I understand, doubtful. In that respect he will be guided by circumstances; much will depend upon the condition and disposition of the several Indian tribes.
Now, we pronounce this statement of Mr. "X." a falsehood from beginning to end, without any foundation on which to build it. We would like to know what interest he has in thus making and circulating these wholesale falsehoods, and what is his object in doing so. We predict he dare not come out manly and let us know his real name. If he knows anything about what he is writing, he know this statement to be false; and if he does not, he had better hold his tongue, and people would not know he was a knave and a fool.
As to the emigration being all Mormons that went on the north side of the Platte, any one who was in or about Kanesville, is well aware that at least nine-tenths of the emigration through on this route, was bound for Oregon and California, and in regard to sickness, everybody who comes from the Plains say that there is not one-fourth the sickness and deaths on the north side that there is on the south side of the Platte, and many who started on the south side crossed over to the north side as soon as they could find a crossing place.
As for the Indians, there never was a battle between the Mormons and the Indians this season, and the only difficulty with the Indians was mentioned in our paper some time since, and resulted in the death of two Indians. It was with a California company. None of the emigrants were hurt in the affray.
Mr. "X." had better take to the moon or some other planet, as there is no use for such animals in this world--unless he had a pair of long years--then he might be of some service to his master.