The Burning of Sac Village
The Illinois militia had come to fight Indians and when they found the Native Americans gone, they became determined to be avenged upon something. Shortly after they reached the Indian village it began to rain and soon the rain descended in torrents, and early the morning of the 26th, the troops commenced setting fire to the houses. Soon the frail dwellings were wrapped in flames and in less than one hour’s time almost every wigwam in the village was in ashes. Governor Ford who was present said: “And thus perished an ancient village which had once been the delightful home of six or seven thousand Indians; where generation after generation had been born, had died and been buried; where the old men had taught wisdom to the young; whence the Indian youth had often gone out in parties to hunt or to war, and returned in triumph to dance around the spoils of the forest, or the scalps of their enemies; and where the dark-eyed Indian maidens by their presence and charms, had made it a scene of delightful enchantment to many an admiring warrior.”
The army spent the night at the Indian town, the regulars, however, going back to the fort. On the morning of June 26, General Duncan marched his army to the Mississippi River and encamped on the exact spot where the City of Rock Island is now located, the camp extending from where the Rock Island Railway Company’s freight depot was later located down to where the present ferry dock stands. The horses, some sixteen hundred, were pastured in the bend of the river below and a strong guard placed around them. During the second night a steamboat came up the river and when opposite where the horses were kept commenced blowing its whistle. This unnatural noise at night so frightened the animals that they broke loose and stampeded, and it was with difficulty that their guards escaped being trampled to death. The frightened animals ran out on the prairies, up and down both river banks, and it was several days before they could be recovered, some few however being lost.
Source: Historic Rock Island County, pub. Kramer & Company, Rock Island, Illinois, 1908