The Ghost of the Blackhawk War – Chapter 3

By Dan Norvell

Captain Lincoln and 52 other Army Regulars stood no chance against 600 Sauk and Fox Indian warriors. They got about one mile north of the grave they had just laid our bodies into and set up camp for the night. I was relieved to know that they would not be walking into an ambush tonight. As the men slept, I kept watch with the five that were not sleeping and I tried to talk to all of them. I had hoped at least one of them might hear me. None of them did.

I decided to go back to the Indian camp, try to scare them out of there, and make them move north. I had to try something, anything. I could not stand idly by and watch the young Captain and his men be slaughtered the way we were. I ran as fast as I could. I covered the six miles that separated the two camps within an hour. I was amazed at how fast I could move without having to dodge trees or worry about breaking my ankles. I sat on the ridge and watched the Indians. Chief Blackhawk was speaking to his group and I found it odd that I could understand him clearly.

He was saying that he had wished that the scouts he had sent to Old Man’s Creek had not been fired upon and that he didn’t understand why the militia would fire on scouts riding under a flag of parley. He told his warriors that they would move on Old Man’s Creek and finish off any militia there, and then toward Dixon’s Ferry. Chief Blackhawk would find a much bigger force at Dixon’s Ferry than he first realized. My immediate concern was the 53 men that would die first outside of Old Man’s Creek. I had to stop them and get them back to Dixon’s Ferry.

As I ran away from the Indian camp, I could hear the Sauk and Fox warriors let out loud war whoops and I knew that they were ready to attack anything that resembled an army detachment that they encountered. I arrived back at the Army camp within an hour. I actually for the first time felt out of energy. I stumbled and placed my hand on the rear of one of the horses. The horse lunged forward, and I ran and placed my hand on the horse’s head. “Whoa. Easy, boy.” The horse settled down instantly. I had always had a way with horses.

This horse could see me! That might be good news. This means that if the horse could see me, I might be able to get one of the soldiers to hear me too. I started to try to talk to the men that were on watch again. Once again, it proved to be futile. I decided to try to go to where the Captain was. Maybe he could hear me in his sleep. I had to try anything. The night was quickly going to come to an end and these men would be joining me as ghosts if I didn’t try something. I went to the Captain, and I knelt down and whispered in his ear. “Captain Lincoln, sir, you need to return to Dixon’s Ferry. You will run into an ambush if you don’t.”

The Captain tossed and turned, and I heard him mutter, “Dixon’s Ferry.” He was hearing me! I kept talking into his ear, “Captain, return to Dixon’s Ferry!” I felt completely exhausted for the first time since I had died. I sat down for a while and I watched as one by one, the men began to rise for the morning. I could smell the coffee they were making over the fires they had going still. I sure did wish I could have a cup. The Captain had finally risen for the morning and he told the men that they would be returning to Dixon’s Ferry. He said to them that he had a feeling that the Indian force up North might be a little stronger than they would be able to handle at this particular time.

I was relieved to know that no more blood would be spilled near Old Man’s Creek on this day. My only problem now was that if the Sauk and Fox did make it to Dixon’s Ferry, they still outnumbered the Army force there by 2 to 1. I had to return to the Indian camp and try to figure out a way to make them turn north and stay away from Dixon’s Ferry. Maybe I could scare the horses, or maybe I could convince Chief Blackhawk in his sleep to try again for peace. I am not sure he would go for that after our scouts had shot his men under a flag of parley. I had to return to their camp and try. If I could now understand their speech as a ghost, maybe the Chief would understand me talking in his ear as they moved south. I didn’t know if it would work, but I knew I was going to try.


Dan Norvell is 40 years old and has a strong desire to help people in the paranormal field that comes from his time spent in the Fire Service. He is enjoying his time as a writer, and he hopes to continue to bring his readers stories from a ghost’s point of view.

Think you are ready to write for E-mail us your ideas at Stories about Illinois are preferred.


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