Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

Why a garrison was established up the river three miles is only conjectural. Is some. United States troops had to be retained in this region so as to be near at hani in case of raids by Indians in the county, and to give them something to do in the way of tilling the soil and exercise, and thereby lightening the expense of the commissariat, may have been, and doubtless were, the reasons for a transfer of a portion, if not all, of Fort Knox's garrison to that place; and when the fort was dismantled and its inmates removed up the river it is presumed the place was dubbed, by courtesy, Fort Knox. The spot the garrison occupied is a picturesque one, of which a pretty picture is given in this connection, and it has been a popular place for picnics and members of the boating club and their fair young companions, and doubtless will be in all time to come, in memory of the soldiers once stationed there and for its beauty.*

Until the writer investigated the history of our city he had supposed that the site was once occupied by a neighborhood fort, like a dozen cther so-called forts in different parts of the country; for instance, those in Widner were called Fort Widner, Fort Chambers, Fort Lemon, Fort Polk and Fort Taylor; the largest of these, Widner, containing three-quarters of an acre of ground, was what is called a stockade fort. One was at Emison's Mill, eight miles above the city, and one at Bruceville; another in Busseron township, called “Ochiltree Fort,” near the celebrated pear tree, “which was twelve feet in circumference at the base, one hundred and twenty feet in height and had a lateral spread of one hundred and twenty-six feet, yielding annually fifty bushels of fruit.”* Another existed in Palmyra township, called “Roe's Fort,” and one at Purcell's. The one erected at Emison's Mill, owing to the fact that most of the men were absent on duty, and the garrison consisted of ladies, was dubbed "Fort Petticoat.”+

*See Act of Congress, July, 1832; Record R, p. 48, at Court House.

The laudable suggestions that have been made from time to time that memorials be placed to mark noted places in the early history of our city are to be commended, and if practicable should be acted upon. But the first step should be the erection of a monument to the memory of George Rogers Clark. Yet, if our patriotism becomes so broadened as to embrace every so-called fort that once existed in this region, I fear that our benevolence will be overtaxed, and failure will follow.

CAMP KNOX.

Camp Knox is so closely connected with the history of Old Vincennes that it deserves a niche in this volume. It was the site of a garrison of United States soldiers early in the last century, whither they were removed from Fort Knox in the village. It is situated three miles above the city on a bluff of the eastern bank of the Wabash river. It overlooks the river far into Illinois, and beautiful views present themselves to the eye, as the borders of the landscape on either shore are set with silver linings by the environment of water, which calmly reflects grove and sky, or dances in coruscating, sunlit wavelets in answer to the calling winds.

While the garrison was stationed there, the home of Dr. Samuel McKee, United States Army Surgeon, was the objective point of frequent outings of Governor William Henry Harrison and his friends, the Governor often remarking that the viands served out there seemed more tasteful than those in town.*

** History Knox County, p. 72. † History Knox County, p. 77.

[graphic]

CAMP KNOX.

SITE OF A GARRISON OF UNITED STATES ARMY, ESTABLISHED IN 1803.1

When the soldiers were encamped there it was, without doubt, a central place of interest to the country folk, as well as the denizens of the town, as little toil, plenty of leisure and amusements combined to enliven the barracks

* This information came from the late A. B. McKee, who was a son of the Surgeon, received through his aunt, Mrs. Capt. Robert Buntin, then a resident of Vincennes.

# Camp Knox, the Second, had its origin during the early days of the Civil War, and was located northeast of the city one mile.

And yet,

days and months; but with the passing away of the “pomp
and circumstance of war," the crunbling, corroding hand
of time and decay robbed it of its artificial glory, strewn
there by the hand of art, and left it for Nature to restore
to it again its pristine beauty and loveliness.
bereft of its camp adornments, it presents many points of
attraction, and needs only a willing hand, reinforced by
taste and enterprise, to restore to it the glory of the past.

Its inaccessibility to visitors, except by water, prevents it from becoming a place of more frequent resort for the worshipers of beautiful scenery. By row or sail boat nothing is more inviting than a jaunt on the "rolling deep," in spring's balmy mornings, when the shores of the river are garlanded with myriads of flowers, or in autumn's calm, invigorating evenings, when the parti-colored foliage of October, in the adjacent forest-lined shores, rivals in beauty the shimmering meteoric showers that stud the firmament during the twilight-ides of a November evening.

Yet uadorned by the hand of art, it is an ideal spot for lads and lassies to while away the rosy hours of day, as “love's young dream” clothes it with a halo of glory, while woodland songsters warble their sweetest notes, embowered in the shady groves, and the piping notes of quail and lark echo back responses from copse and bush.

But in contemplating these scenes, a tinge of sadness casts a shadow on the wings of thought, as one realizes that within these precincts forgotten heroes lie, "unwept, unhonored and unsung,” who will never more waken until Eternity's reveille is sounded on the receding shores of time.

[ocr errors]

PEACE TO THEIR ASHES.

They served their country in its time of need,
And though remembered not, in name or deed,
Their resting place, although their souls have fled,
Should sacred be, in memory of the dead;
And honored be the hands, in spring's bright hours,
That strew their lonely graves with beauteous flowers.

[graphic][merged small]
« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »