To the politeness of Capt. William
Wells we are indebted for the following information.
Copy of a letter from Captain Nathan Heald,
commanding Fort Dearborne, to Capt. William Wells, at
Chicago, 5th April, 1812
On the 6th of this month [April], a party of eleven
Indians, supposed to be Winnebagoes [Winnebago], came to
Messrs. Russel and Leigh's cabin on the Portage, a branch
of the Chicago River, about three miles above the
garrison, where they found three men and a boy; one of the
men and the boy cleared out for the garrison, soon after
the Indians came to the house; the other two being less
apprehensive of the intention of the savages, chose to
remain, and were shortly murdered. One of the men,
by the name of Liberty White, was shockingly
butchered. He received two balls through his body,
nine stabs with a knife in his breast, and one in his hip;
his throat was cut from ear to ear, his nose and lips were
both taken off in one piece, and his head bore the marks
of the tomahawk and scalping knife. Indeed, sir, I
think he was the most horrible object I ever beheld in my
The other man had not been long here, and I do not know
his name; but he was a Canadian Frenchman, and I believe
the Indians spared him a little on that account, for they
only shot him through the neck and scalped him.
Since the murder of these men, several other parties have
been lurking about us, but they have not been able to take
any more scalps.
Mr. Kinzie has moved into the garrison. Mr. Lalime
and the Chicago militia, consisting of about fifteen men,
are quartered in house formerly occupied by Major Jouett,
and I have furnished them with arms and ammunition.
I forbid the Indians from coming to this place until I can
find out to what nation the murderers belong.
I have lately received information from the St. Joseph,
that the Indians in that quarter are gone to your post in
order to hold a council. If so, please to inform me
of the result.
Our situation here will be very disagreeable for a while,
as we are obliged to keep close to the garrison or be in
danger of losing our scalps.
The party of Winebagoes that wintered near this place are
mostly gone back to the Prophet [Tenskwatawa], as I am
told by other Indians.
Since writing this letter three of our militia have
deserted, one Frenchman and two half Indians. It is
believed they have taken salt with them, ten or eleven
horses, and gone towards Milwaukee.