June 25, 1832 – This Day During The American Indian Wars – The Battle of Kellogg’s Grove

June 25, 1832 – The Battle of Kellogg’s Grove fought during the Black Hawk War in U.S. state of Illinois, in present-day Stephenson County at and near Kellogg’s Grove. The battle is known for playing a role in Abraham Lincoln’s short career in the Illinois militia. He was part of a relief company sent to the grove on June 26 and he helped bury the dead. He made a statement about the incident years later which was recollected in Carl Sandburg’s writing, among others. Sources conflict about who actually won the battle; it has been called a “rout” for both sides. The battle was the last on Illinois soil during the Black Hawk War.
The Battle of Kellogg’s Grove occurred on June 25, 1832, after Major John Dement and his men, while camped at Kellogg’s Grove on Sunday June 24, learned of a large group of Native Americans nearby. The battle pitted a large band of Native American warriors led by Black Hawk and his warchiefs Neapope and Weesheet against Dement’s spy company of militia men. Dement’s company had been searching the area for bands of warriors sent out by Black Hawk and their trail had led to Kellogg’s Grove.
During the night, three of the militia’s horses wandered off; the next day, June 25, three men went in search of the animals while the rest stayed behind. At the cabin, seven Native American braves appeared in the distance. The troops immediately began pursuing the natives, who fled into the woods, instead of reporting the sighting to Dement. The Native American warriors, as had been done other times during the course of the war, set an ambush for the militia men in the forest. The militia pursued the natives into the woods and, as they entered the forest, the natives opened fire, the volley instantly killed two militia men and wounded another. The militia retreated and formed a battle line but the native forces would not relent. The rest of Dement’s company attempted to rescue the outmatched militia men but were unable to beat back the native warriors. Black Hawk’s band attacked the militia men, again forcing the beleaguered force to fall back to the Kellogg cabin and barn.
As the militia fell back, the three men who had set out in search of their horses returned and they too were killed by the Native American forces. The natives continued to assault the barn and cabin; their attacks did not cease and during the battle about 25 horses were killed. Finally, the native forces withdrew, leaving nine of their own dead behind. The June 25 battle was the last of the Black Hawk War on Illinois soil. Dement’s company lost five men with another three were wounded, many horses were killed as well.
That night American reinforcements arrived under the command of General Alexander Posey, who chose not to pursue the attackers and instead reported the situation to Colonel Zachary Taylor. Black Hawk asserted later that had Posey chose to attack him and his warriors that the blow dealt Black Hawk’s band would have been decisive and war-ending. In fact, Dement’s opinion was that there were more Native Americans at Kellogg’s Grove than at any other engagement during the war. The next day more reinforcements arrived when Captain Jacob Early’s detachment reached the grove.

Battle of Kellogg’s Grove

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