Native American Life after Prophetstown (Part 3)

Luksi Humma

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It was the Fall of 1811. The once dazzling colors of the prairie, now began the cycle of becoming nourishment for next years growth. Fading into the earth, ashes from ashes, dust to dust. The fine warriors of the many forests, plains, prairies around the country, had come to Prophetstown, to defend their lands. Their hearts, longing for home and family, their minds, knowing that defense here, might, safeguard their lands back home.

Harrison's troops moved towards Prophetstown, knowing, eyes watched their every footfall. They had come from Terre Haute, the edge of a vast prairie, which reached Chicago, uninterrupted by forest.

Brilliant colors, soft green stems, during the summer, now brown, only disciplined men could persevere their resistance. Duty drove them on, one foot in front of another, for endless miles. They too, longed for family and home. They fought for duty, not the safety of their families and lands.

Tension pervades the Ohio Valley along the Wabash. The sounds of the United States war machine moving rythmically through the brush, as it approached within five miles of Prophetstown, then stopped. The surrounding air, still, animals poised for quick escape. All waiting, breathes drawn, for the first shot, that did not come.

As General Harrison rode towards the village for parlay. Tenskwatawa came out to meet him. After talking sometime, Harrison, in an astonishing move, decides not to attack. Instead he bivouacs his troops across the marsh on high ground.

One can only wonder what the Prophet may have said during that parlay with Harrison. History tells us, that, the Prophet tells Harrison of no ill intent. I try to recon with that and come up blank. Harrison could clearly see the village was no peaceful river town. Harrison also knew that Tecumseh was gathering warriors to fight Harrison for the lands of Native people near Fort Wayne and at Greenville (now in Ohio)

Since Harrison had publically stated he was going to contend with the Prophetstown problem once and for all. What could have been the cause of delay? We may never know the answer to that question.

The Native people were to be told of the Prophet's dream the next day. The Prophet told his warriors, that he dreamed they had gone to Harrison's camp, in the night and assasinated him. All of his troops fled into the forest to escape. Their bullets would not penetrate the shirts of the Native warriors.

Why would they believe such foolishness. I discover some amazing ideas why this fantasy could be deemed truth, by the warriors. It seems that in those days, French survey teams roamed the Northern territory around Prophetstown. There is at least on account of the Prophet coming into contact with them.

It is very possible that the Prophet may have learned of an upcoming astonomical event, which, may have been know to those surveyors. An eclipse was to take place, and the Prophet may indeed, used this event to heighten his believability amongst his warriors.

If this is true, there is good reason why those warriors might have believed that bullets would not penetrate their shirts. Desperation can also be a factor as Harrison's troops far outnumbered the warriors at Prophetstown.

Nightfall came and the warriors prepared to fulfill the dream of the Prophet. Arming themselves, they crossed the marsh with weapons held high in the air as they moved through the inky darkness towards camp of the enemy. Spreading out around the camp and preparing to attack from all sides, a sentry, who was sleeping awoke. Seeing the woods filled with movement, he fired.

Part 4 coming soon.

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