Indian Troubles in 1862

On the morning of the second day of September another detail of twenty soldiers and twenty citizens was sent out for the purpose of rescuing the family mentioned before, and as all could not be mounted it was thought best to go in wagons.

The detail had proceeded as far as where Hoken Peterson formerly resided when they halted for dinner.

Some of the boys being near home obtained leave to visit the house about one mile from camp, on promise that they would bring back watermelons for the whole company — after being gone a short time one of them came running back with his arms full of melons and crying Indians! Indians!! The company being unable to see any Indians from their location in the low ground one of the party was ordered “to run his head out on the knoll, “near by “and take a look.” He did so and reported twelve Indians advancing from the timber near by, in the direction of camp, and after being ordered back by the Captain, looking around he saw some twenty or more mounted Indians approaching on our west, and the teams were at once ordered to retreat in the direction of Forest City, And they did retreat for a fact. It was a race for life and home.

Their mama’s didn’t know they were out!

Horses that were a little slow, were renewed in their activity by the point of the bayonet. In the flight our amiable Captain lost his hat and was unable to recover it, on account of two or three Indians that were within a half mile of them.

After this wild flight of some two miles, the teams were ordered to halt, as some of the horses were about giving out, and being considered safe, as the enemy were left at least one mile behind.

They had only been halted for a moment when one of the teams came rushing by and one of the boys thinking he would be left, sprang for the wagon, striking the back of his gun on the side of the box-the gun “went off” wounding O. B. Todd in the leg and barely missing D. Chapin, tearing his cartridge box and bayonet scabbard, to shreds.

After resting a few minutes the party proceeded toward Forest City, without any further accident except the miring and leaving of one of E. O. Britt‘s horses, while with the other Mr. Britt came to Forest City in advance of the party and ordered all the women and children into the hotel of Lieut. Atkinson, and for the remainder of the men left in Forest City to come out and meet the company; as the Indians were coming into town. There were about a baker’s dozen of men and boys left in Forest City, and arming themselves with whatever they could find marched out towards “Uncle Ikes” with Judge Smith at their head armed with an old double barrel bogus stub and-twist-shot gun, and three butcher-knives under the waist-bands of his pants. This was believed to be the first, last and only time that the judge ever commanded a company of Irregular Volunteer Militia, and is a full report of all of his military exploits.

At the time Capt. Whitcomb made his last “double quick” toward Forest City and thought it safe to leave Britt‘s horse sticking in the mud with forty men at command there were just two Indians in sight. There were various men among our people, who “lived fast”, between the 17th of August and the 4th of September, 1862 — some in tragedy and some in comedy far more peril to individuals than to companies of men, assembled for mutual protection. We could wish that we had a sketch of all such, including the hair-breadth escapes of Men and families; but the facts are not furnished us. and we cannot do justice to the parties in interest from rumors obtained at the time, or from our recollection of circumstances.


Smith, A. C., A random historical sketch of Meeker County, Minnesota: from its first settlement to July 4th, 1876,;Litchfield, Minn.: Belfoy & Joubert, 1877.

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