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[422] regions over which the Federal government had established its authority during the last years which preceded the civil war.

At the same period, the volunteers, raised in Northern Missouri and the young States of Iowa and Minnesota, had been mustered into the ranks of Halleck's and Pope's armies to the last man; their departure had left the frontier, constantly menaced by indigenous tribes, almost unprotected. We must therefore interrupt our narrative for an instant in order to show how, by the side of the great conflagration which the civil war had kindled all over the Union, the Indian war was perpetuated like a slow-burning fire, occasionally mingling with the general struggle, without, however, becoming confounded with it. The State of California and the neighboring territories situated on the Pacific basin had furnished the Federal armies with a large number of gallant volunteers, but their geographical position kept them remote from the scene of war. The Confederates had been unable to extend the theatre of hostilities to the western slope of the Rocky Mountains. The centre of the continent was occupied by those Indian tribes with whom the regular army was still at war in 1861; and if their number was greatly reduced, the experience they had acquired during their incessant conflicts partly compensated for this decrease. The civil war, which was absorbing the attention of their eternal enemies, afforded them an opportunity, not for reconquering the territory they had lost, but at least for satisfying their thirst for revenge, increasing the number of scalps suspended in their tents, and massacring the wives and children of the settlers who occupied the hunting-grounds of their fathers. They consequently ranged themselves with almost perfect indifference under the flag of either of the parties contending for the supremacy of the continent, merely taking care to be on the side of the stronger, in order to be surer of shedding the blood of the whites. We have seen their warriors fighting desperately at the battle of Pea Ridge. But the fable of the horse seeking to wreak his vengeance upon the stag is constantly being verified, and the savage always ends by becoming the slave and victim of the civilization in the struggles of which he has sought to mingle.

The Americans, in fact, were not slow to understand the advantage to themselves in employing the Indians against each

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