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PAGE 3

The Canoe Fight (Incident Of The Creek War)
by [?]

With that he rushed forward, only to meet death at the hands of the friend who would gladly have spared him.

The canoe fight was ended, but Dale’s work was not yet done. His party on the bank were every minute more closely pressed, and if they were to be saved it must be done quickly. For this purpose he and his companions at once began clearing the big canoe of its load of dead Indians. Now that only the white men were there, the Indians upon the bank directed a galling fire upon the canoe, but by careening it to one side Dale made a sort of breastwork of its thick gunwale, and thus succeeded in clearing it. When this was done he went ashore and quickly carried off the party there, landing all of them in safety on the other side.

The hero of this singular battle lived until the year 1841. The whole story of his life is a romance of hardship, daring, and wonderful achievement. When he died, General John F. H. Claiborne, who knew him intimately, wrote a sketch of his career for a Natchez newspaper, in which he described him as follows:

“In person General Dale was tall, erect, raw-boned, and muscular. In many respects, physical and moral, he resembled his antagonists of the woods. He had the square forehead, the high cheek-bones, the compressed lips, and, in fact, the physiognomy of an Indian, relieved, however, by a firm, benevolent Saxon eye. Like the red men, too, his foot fell lightly upon the ground, and turned neither to the right nor left. He was habitually taciturn, his face grave, he spoke slowly and in low tones, and he seldom laughed. I observed of him what I have often noted as peculiar to border men of high attributes: he entertained the strongest attachment for the Indians, extolled their courage, their love of country, and many of their domestic qualities; and I have often seen the wretched remnant of the Choctaws camped round his plantation and subsisting on his crops.”

It is a curious fact that after the war ended, when Weatherford (Red Eagle), who commanded the Indians on the shore in this battle with Dale, was about to marry, he asked Dale to act as his best man, and the two who had fought each other so desperately stood side by side, as devoted friends, at the altar.