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Coffeyville 1909



Last Battle of Fontanelle, the Omaha Chief.


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Missouri Democrat / August 4, 1855

WOLF RIVER, Kansas Ter., Aug. 4, 1855. — LOGAN FONTANELLE, chief of the Omahas, has just been slain and scalped at Loup Fork, by a band of Sioux. LOGAN was a noble fellow, and in this last mortal conflict he dispatched several of the enemy to the spirit land before, to herald the coming of his own brave soul. He fought long, desperately, and with great effect, but numbers finally overcame him, and his life departed through a hundred wounds. He died a martyr for his people, and his name should be carved upon fame's brightest tablet.

He was on his annual hunt with his nation. A number of his lodges were pitched upon the plains near Loup Fork. As a young warrior one day rode around the adjacent hills he espied a powerful band of Sioux encamped along a stream in a sequestered vale. He hastens to inform LOGAN of the propinquity and power of their natural foe. LOGAN ordered his people to pack immediately, and proceed in a straight line and with all speed for home, while he would remain behind and divert the Sioux by falce camp fires and other devices from a direct purusit of them. This was about twilight.

The people got under way as quickly as possible, but not too soon; for scarcely had they turned a highland when several Sioux warriors came in sight and discovered the place of their recent encampment. They examined it and found that Omahas had been there, and then they returned to notify their chief, and bring an adequate force to pursue and slaughter them. LOGAN, from a hiding place, saw all, and knew that no time was to be lost in drawing their attention from the trial, which they would soon discover and follow, and mounting his horse, he dashed away at full speed across the prairie, at right angles with the route his tribe had taken, and struck a fire about eight miles distant, on an eminence where the Sioux could distinctly see it.

He had scarcely done so before a powerful band were upon the spot that he and his people had so lately left, and who, without stopping to distinguish the trail, started for the fire, which they saw rising against the clear blue sky, and where they expected in another moment to imbue their hands in the gore of their unguarded victims. But LOGAN had not been unwary. As soon as the fire was lighted, he again mounted and rode on eight or ten miles further, and kindled another fire just as they reached the first. This rather bewildered them. They dismounted and examined the ground.

LOGAN, anticipating this, had trotted and walked his horse around it, so as to make the appearance upon the grass of the treading of a dozen horses; and this drew them into the belief that a small body had lingered behind and kindled this fire, and then gone on to where they could see the new fire burning; and so they followed with renewed avidity. The same thing happened as before. LOGAN had gone on, and another fire met their astonished gaze, while the same sort of foot prints were about the one around which they were now gathered. Their suspicions were now awakened. They examined the ground more closely, both far and near, and discovered that a solitary horseman had deceived them, and they knew it was for the sole purpose of leading them off from the pursuit of the party whose encampnent they had first discovered.

LOGAN saw them going round with glaring torches and understood their boject, and knew that his only chance of safety was an immediate flight towards his home; and he further knew that by the time they could retrace their way to their place of starting, and find the trail that his own people had taken, they would be beyond the reach of danger.

The Sioux, in the meanwhile, had divided into smaller bands, the largest of which was to return and pursue the Omahas, and the others to endeavor to capture the one who had misled them. They knew that he must be an Omaha, and that he would either go further and kindle another watch-fire, or start for his nation in a straight line; and therefore one party went on a little further, and the others spread out toward the Omaha country for the purpose of intercepting him.

LOGAN pressed forward as rapidly as his jaded steed could bear him, until he thought he had entirely eluded them; but as the day dawned, to his horror and dismay, he saw his pursuers close upon his track. He turned his course for a ravine, which he distinguished at a distance, covered with trees and undergrowth. He succeeded in reaching it and just within its verge he met an Indian girl dipping water from a spring. She was startled, and about to cry for help, when he hastily assured her that he needed protection and assitance. With the true instincts of noble woman, she appreciated his situation in an instant, and all her sympathies were with him. She directed him to dismount and go to a small natural bower to which she pointed him, in the verge of the woods, while she would mount horse and lead his pursuers away.

He obeyed her, and she mounted his horse and dashing on in a serpentine way through the woods, leaving marks along the brushes by which she could be traced. The pursuers soon followed. When she had got some distance down the branch she rode into the water and followed its descending course for a few steps, making her horse touch its sides and leave footprints in that direction, and then turned up the bed of the stream and rode above the place at which she entered it, without leaving a trace, and back to where LOGAN was concealed.

She told him to mount and speed away, while his pursuers were going in a contrary direction down the ravine. He did so, and got a long distance out of sight, and again thought himself out of the reach of danger, when in a valley just in front of him he saw fifty braves coming up the hill and meeting him. They were some of those who were returning from the pursuit of his people. He changed his direction and tried to escape, but his poor horse was too much exhausted to bear him with sufficient speed.

With savage yells they plunged their rowels into their horses' sides and gained upon him. As the foremost approached withing good shooting distance, LOGAN turned suddently and sent a bullet through his brain. Then, loading as he galloped on, he soon made another bite the dust; and then another and another, until four were strewed along the plain. Just then, however, as he was again reloading, his horse stubmled and fell, and the band rushed upon him before he had well recovered from the shock. He was shot with bullets and arrows, and gashed with tomahawks, and pierced with lances; notwithstanding all which, he arose amidst his foes, and with his clubbed rifle and hunting knife he piled around himfive prostrate bodies, and fell with his back upon their corpses and expired, still fighting.

He was scalped, and hundreds of warriors held a great war-dance over him.

Thus LOGAN FONTANELLE departed, and his noble spirit was followed to the spirit-land by the sighs and lamentations of his nation and the sympathies and aspirations of the brave of every land.

The Sioux a short time since held a great national feast at the Black Hills, when their Bible was opened, and a somewhat romantic inciden occurred, whith I will give you in my next.

The weather is propitious, and the corn crop will be superabundant in this country.

The Legislature are busily engaged in passing bills, notwithstanding the removal of Gov. REEDER. He is growing, if possible, more unpopular every day.

Our survey is progressing, and Gen. CALHOUN seems to be disposed to press the work forward witha ll dispatch.

Mr. G.P. HEAUVAIS, of St. Louis, is just in from the mountains. He says the Indians desire peace. He saw the Da co ta band, who expressed themselves friendly toward the United States, and declared they would not engage in a war with the United States. He converesed with RED LEAF and SPOTTED TAIL, who told him that they had led the party who slew and robbed the carriers of the mail last Fall, and that they are ready and willing to give themselves up to be slain for our satisfaciton.

When he came in the the Pawnee country an number of Pawnees were along the road; one of the BEAUVAIS' company was bringing in a Sioux girl. The Pawnees asked if she was not a Sioux. Upon being answered in the affirmative, they tried to get possession of her to slay and scalp her. BEAUVAIS, who, you know, is a powerful man, stepped forward and caught the leader of the Indians by the throad and gave him a severe shaking, and told him to be off of he would kill him. The Indians left. BEAUVAIS' party were somewhat uneasy for a while, for fear that they would gather some hundreds of their people and return and attack them, but they did not show themselves again.

The emigrants across the planis are getting along without difficulty. Only eleven trains have gone over this season, and all passed the most dangerous places in safety. Troops of our soldiers are scattered all along at Fort Laramie and from there to Kearney. They were doing well, and said they were going to whip the Indians soon as General HARNEY gave the word.

 

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