Chapter VIII. The Black Hawk War
There were still a good many Indians in
the West. The Sac Indians had
lately sold their lands in northern Illinois to the United
had then moved across the Mississippi river, to other lands
been set apart for them.
But they did not like their new home. At last they made up
to go back to their former hunting-grounds. They were led by
whose name was Black Hawk - and they began by killing the white
and burning their houses and crops.
This was in the spring of 1832.
The whole state of Illinois was in alarm. The governor called
volunteers to help the United States soldiers drive the Indians
Abraham Lincoln enlisted. His company elected him captain.
He did not know anything about military tactics. He did not
know how to
give orders to his men. But he did the best that he could,
and learned a
great deal by experience.
His company marched northward and westward until they came
Mississippi river. But they did not meet any Indians, and so
The young men under Captain Lincoln were rude fellows from
and backwoods. They were rough in their manners, and hard to
But they had very high respect for their captain.
Perhaps this was because of his great strength, and his skill
wrestling - for he could put the roughest and strongest of them
backs. Perhaps it was because he was good-natured and kind,
and, at the
same time, very firm and decisive.
In a few weeks the time for which the company had enlisted
came to an
end. The young men were tired of being soldiers - and so all,
Captain Lincoln and one man, were glad to hurry home.
But Captain Lincoln never gave up anything half done. He enlisted
This time he was a private in a company of mounted rangers.
The main camp of the volunteers and soldiers was on the banks
Rock river, in northern Illinois.
Here, one day, Abraham Lincoln saw a young lieutenant of the
States Army, whose name was Jefferson Davis. It is not likely
fine young officer noticed the rough-clad ranger - but they
were to know
more of each other at a future time.
Three weeks after that the war was at an end. The Indians
beaten in a battle, and Black Hawk had been taken prisoner.
But Abraham Lincoln had not been in any fight. He had not
Indians, except peaceable ones.
In June his company was mustered out, and he returned home
to New Salem.
He was then twenty-three years old.