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Red Eagle, [a poem].
Romantic Passages in South-Western History.
History of Alabama, [unfinished].
Songs and Poems of the South. Pilgrims of Mt. Vernon, [unfinished poem].
The story of the Indian Chief, Red Eagle, or Weatherford, is one of the most interesting traditions of our country. Judge Meek's writings teem with the romantic and marvellous incidents of the early history of Alabama, such as De Soto's march to the Mississippi, the Battle of Mauville and defeat of the great Indian King, Tuscaloosa, or Black Warrior, the Canoe-Fight of Dale, or Sam Thlucco, as the Indians called him ("Big Sam"), and the attack on Fort Mims.
RED EAGLE, OR WEATHERFORD.
(From Romantic Passages in South-Western History.)
The battle of Tohopeka put an end to the hopes of Weatherford. This village was situated on a peninsula, within the "horse-shoe bend" of the Tallapoosa.
twelve hundred warriors
fortified themselves for a desperate struggle, assured by their prophets that the Master of Breath would now interpose in their favor. Across the neck of land, three hundred and fifty yards wide, that leads into the peninsula, they had constructed powerful breast works of hewn logs, eight or ten feet high, and pierced with double rows of port-holes, from which they could fire with perfect security. The selection of this spot and the character of its defence did great credit to the military genius of Weatherford,—and his eloquence, more than usually persuasive and inspiriting, filled his devoted followers with a courage strangely compounded of fanaticism and despair.
At an early hour in the morning, General Coffee's command having crossed the river and encircled the bend so as
to cut off all escape, General Jackson opened his artillery upon the breastworks, and having but in part demolished them, ordered forward the thirty-ninth regiment to carry the place by storm. The van was gallantly led by Col. Williams, Col. Bunch, Lieut.-Col. Benton, and Maj. Montgomery. Amidst a most destructive fire, they pressed to the breastworks, and desperately struggled for the command of the port-holes. But Maj. Montgomery, impatient at the delay, cried out to his men to follow him, and leaped upon the wall in face of the deadliest fire. For an instant he waved his sword over his head in triumph, but the next fell lifeless to the ground, shot through the head by a rifle ball. A more gallant spirit never achieved a nobler death, and the name of the young Tennesseean is preserved as a proud designation by one of the richest counties, as well as by one of the most flourishing cities, in the State whose soil was baptized by his blood!
The breastworks having been carried by storm, the Indians fell back among the trees, brush, and timber of the peninsula, and kept up a spirited contest. But, in the meantime, a portion of Coffee's command, and some of the friendly warriors under their distinguished chief, McIntosh, had swum across the river, fired the village of Tohopeka, and carried off the canoes of the enemy. The followers of Weatherford now became desperate, and from the banks, hollows, and other fastnesses of the place, fought with fury, refusing all offers of quarter. The fight continued in severity for five hours; and the going down of the sun was hailed by the survivors as furnishing them some chance of escape. But the hope was, in the main, deceptive.
Not more than twenty warriors are believed to have escaped, under cover of the night. Among these, strange enough, was the chieftain [Weather
ford], whose appellation, "the Murderer of Fort Mims," had formed the watch-word and war-cry of his enemies in this very engagement. Favored by the thick darkness, he floated down the river with his horse, until below the American lines, and then reaching the shore, made his way in safety to the highlands south of the Tallapoosa.
Weatherford could not consent to fly from the nation; he felt that he owed it, as a duty to his people, not to abandon them until peace was restored. In this state of mind he was apprised that the American commander had set a price upon his head, and refused peace to the other chiefs, unless they should bring him either dead, or in confinement, to the American camp, now at Fort Jackson, near the junction of the rivers. His determination was at once taken in the same spirit of heroism that always marked his conduct. Accordingly, mounting his horse, he made his way across the country, and soon appeared at the lines of the encampment. At his request, a sentinel conducted him to the presence of the commander-in-chief, who was seated in his marquee, in consultation with several of his principal officers. The stately and noble appearance of the warrior at once excited the attention and surprise of the General, and he demanded of the Chief his name and the purpose of his visit. In calm and deliberate tones, the chieftain said: "I am Weatherford. I have come to ask peace for myself and for my people."
The mild dignity with which these words were uttered, no less than their import, struck the American commander with surprise. [He hardly knew what to do; but he allowed some parley and Weatherford made a speech, ending thus:] "General Jackson, you are a brave man : I am another. I do not fear to die. But I rely on your generosity. You will exact no terms of a conquered and help
less people, but those to which they should accede. You have told us what we may do
and be safe. Yours is a good talk and my nation ought to listen to it. They shall listen to it!"
General Jackson acceded to the demands of Weatherford, and assured him of peace and safety for himself and people.
PHILIP PENDLETON COOKE.
PHILIP PENDleton Cooke, the elder brother of the better known John Esten Cooke, was born in Martinsburg, Virginia, and spent his short life happily in his native county, engaged in field sports and in writing stories and poems for the "Southern Literary Messenger" and other magazines. His lyric, "Florence Vane," has been very popular and has been translated into many languages. He was said to be stately and impressive in manner and a brilliant talker. Philip Pendleton and John Esten Cooke were first cousins of John Pendleton Kennedy, their mothers being sisters.
His death was caused by pneumonia contracted from riding through the Shenandoah on a hunting trip.
Froissart Ballads and other Poems.
Gregories of Hackwood.
Crime of Andrew Blair.
FLOR CNCE VANE.
I loved thee long and dearly,
My life's bright dream, and early,
I renew, in my fond vision,
The ruin lone and hoary,
Where thou didst hark my story,
At even told,—
That spot-the hues Elysian
I treasure in my vision,
Thou wast lovelier than the roses In their prime:
Thy voice excelled the closes
Of sweetest rhyme;
Thy heart was as a river
Without a main.
Would I had loved thee never,
But fairest, coldest wonder!
Lieth the green sod under
Alas the day!
And it boots not to remember
To quicken love's pale ember,
The lilies of the valley
By young graves weep, The pansies love to dally Where maidens sleep;
May their bloom, in beauty vying,
Where thine earthly part is lying, Florence Vane!