1815 – Report of Capt. James Callaway’s Death

[as published in the Missouri Gazette & Illinois Advertiser, Vol. VII, No. 324, St. Louis, Mo. (March 18, 1815), p. 3]

1815 Mar 18 Callaway article p3Copy of a letter from Ensign Becknell, to Col. Russell, dated Fort Clemson (St. Charles county) March 7th, 1815.

“John Wheldon and four other citizens who were on the 4th inst. at a neighboring family fort, which was evacuated, heard several guns fired, and saw 2 indians run after the cattle they had shot, come to our camp and reported what they heard and seen. Capt. James Callaway with the few men he had, went in pursuit of the savages, but after a long and fatigueing march could not discover them. Late in the evening of the same day, two of our spies who were out on the Loutre creek fell on a fresh trail of eight indians on horses; these were pursued by the captain immediately after his return to camp with all the men he could collect, with four days provision. About 12 o’clock this day, John Stewart a citizen residing near Loutre creek, with whom Cap. Callaway had left two men to assist him in moving into the island, were fired upon by 40 or 50 indians. Stewart was wounded in the foot, another man near the enemy escaped although their horses were cut to pieces with the bullets as to give out.

John Manley who wet out for Boons Lick has been killed by these indians. My force here being small, I have notified some of the inhabitants to join me as I am unable to stand an assault.

March 8th

Captain Callaway was defeated and killed last night about sunset. He fell in with the party above mentioned. The savages lay in ambush—five men are missing and two wounded. I have given the alarm along the frontier.”

From Boon’s Lick—March 4th:

Last night an express arrived here from the upper settlements of St. Charles county, informing that the settlements are attacked by formidable bodies of indians. On the 1st of this month they stole a number of horses and killed a negro; a number of the inhabitants pursued the savages and retook the horses; at the time they were attacked by three times their numbers they charged without hesitation and after a smart action of about fifteen minutes retreated with the loss of one man killed and two wounded. The loss of the indians has been considerable, they were seen bearing off their dead.

It is stated that this affair has given vigor to the settlements of upper St. Charles.

Those killed with Cap. Callaways party are, Parke Hudggens, John Deeson, Jas M’Mellen and John Adkinson—Wounded John Stewart—Gilmore.

At Boons lick a Mr. Joseph Still and a negro of Mr. Sam Brown was killed.—Wounded [ ] Carson [ ] those who have been killed and wounded belonging to Cap. Callaway’s company and at Boons Lick, have large families depending on them for support. Cap. Callaway was known to all, and his loss will be regreted by ALL who estimate worth and sterling courage.