The Battle of Tippecanoe


Upon the banks of Coal our wigwams stood
For many seasons. Many years we dwelt
Sole monarchs of the wide-spread woods and plains;
And the Great Spirit stretched his arms across
Our valiant tribe.
* * * * * * * * *
"One autumn eve,
Across the Wea plains, and Shawnee's streams,
And through the woods, along the banks of Coal,
Spurring his panting steed, a warrior came --
High plum'd and painted -- noble was his mien --
To tell us news which roused us from our rest,
And call'd our warriors round the council fire.
He told us that along the wooded skirts
Of the great Grand Prairie they had seen
A warlike host, well clad in glittering steel,
Prepar'd for battle's dark and dismal hour;
And that their march was up the Wabash streams,
* * * * * * * * *
"The tomahawk was sharpen'd for the fray;
The scalping knife prepar'd; the rifle smoothed,
And prim'd, and loaded; and the quiver cram'd
With pointed arrows. The deep ambush laid
Close by their crossing of the Creek of Pines.
There disappointed of our prey, almost
Within our grasp, we hung upon their trail,
And watched them from the groves, and hollows deep,
As on they strode in fearful martial pride,
To where the Tippecanoe flows along.
* * * * * * * * *
"There as the twilight fell along the vale,
Our spies beheld from a tall, neighboring height,
Their lines encamp upon a rolling bench
Of table land.
* * * * * * * * *
"The moon had risen, but o'er her silver face
The sable clouds, that deck'd the eastern sky,
Spread a broad veil, and wrapt in sombre gloom
And misty darkness our advancing clans.
Then where the hill triangular, abrupt,
Ends in a point upon the level plain,
A gigantic chief drew his deadly bow,
And plunged his silent arrow through the breast
Of the brave guard. He fell, but, falling cried:
To arms! To arms! The foe!' Oh, then we pour'd
Upon their resting place the leaden balls,
Thick as the winter's sleet; and as they rose
Laid many a one to rest, while from their veins,
The life-blood hissing poured in purple tides,
And down the rough declivity soon ran
In gurgling floods, and bath'd our warriors' feet.
But soon the drum's long roll, the bugle's note,
The charging steed, the loud and rallying call,
Told us we had to deal with valiant men,
Who were resolved to conquer or to die.
Their falchions flash'd -- the musketry's fierce roar --
The rifle's sharp report -- the bayonet's clash,
Came sounding in our ears; the Kickapoo and Wyandotte then bled,
And moan'd in death. Rank after rank
We cut the foemen down, and still their place
Was fill'd by others, and their undaunted front
Kept the wide forest in a constant blaze,
Bright as the lightning's gleam. And still the combat
And many a chieftain's voice among the whites
Was hush'd and heard no more. The slowly murd'ring
We dropp'd, and seized the keen-edg'd tomahawk
And scalping knife, and rushed with dreadful yells
Upon their thinn'd, and tired, and bleeding ranks.
* * * * * * * * *
"And still their columns wheeled in martial pomp,"
And boldly sought the spot where loudest fell
The fury of the storm; though drenched in gore,
And wrapp'd in sheets of flame, they fearless stood,
Like a strong warlike tower amid the wastes
Of the lone wilderness, while not an inch
A backward step they trod.
* * * * * * * * *
"Firm as the Ozark hills, the white men stood, charge"
after charge.
And still above the fury of the storm,
And din of war, we heard the firm command:
Stand! For your homes -- your firesides -- and wives!
Stand, while a soldier breathes of leader lives!'
* * * * * * * * *
"The poor Indian fled, his bow was broke,"
And shattered was our great and valiant band.
* * * * * * * * *
"The Prophet's town, a lovely, blooming spot,"
A thriving city of the wilderness,
Was wrapp'd in flames; high through the vault of
Dark clouds of sooty smoke spread far and wide
Their horrid shade across the vanquished land,
And loudly spoke a gloomy tale of woe
And wretchedness, that had just began
To unfold to us the secret book of fate.
* * * * * * * * *
The dauntless Daveiss, Owen, Spencer, Warrick,
Randolph, McMahan, Berry, Baen,
And many a gallant soldier did bravely pour
His life-blood out upon that sod.
There now the traveler often stays his steps,
To ponder o'er their dust, and look far back
Upon those troubled days, that long have passed
Down the deep ocean of eternity.
No towering marble marks that well-known spot,
To blazen forth their deeds; but dwelling stand
Of white men, thickly scattered round their graves,
And our traditions tell, that they do hold
The records bright of their bold heroes' worth,
Engraved upon their hearts, that ceaseless beat
Within their bosoms' warm and living walls.

The Monument

This completes our presentation of
The Battle of Tippecanoe

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Nancy Trice,