The Story of Tsali

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    The Story of Tsali

    Post by Admin on Sun May 12, 2013 7:06 am

    Per the book "History of Hamilton County & Chattanooga TN Vol 1",

    "One story, however, should be told. It illustrates the merciless treatment of the Indians throughout the removal. It is also interesting because the result was so far reaching. It was almost the sole reason that the eastern band of Cherokees was permitted to remain in NC where they still reside.

    The story of Tsali, Charlie, is a pathetic recital of the white man's cruelty & the Indian's loyalty.

    Tsali was a Cherokee of advanced age. He & his family were rounded up without consideration by the soldiers under Gen. Winfield Scott. He & his wife, his brother, three sons & their families were marched from their homes, with exceeding brutality, to one of the stockades prepared for the unfortunate Indians.

    His wife, an old woman, could not walk fast. One of the soldiers, to hasten her steps, prodded her with his bayonet. The protective instinct, old as time, flamed in the breast of Tsali. Speaking to the other captives in the Cherokee tongue he urged them to follow his example. He sprang on the soldier, wrenched from him his gun & killed him. The attack was so sudden & so unexpected & so many of the guards were killed that the remaining soldiers flung down their arms & fled. Tsali & his family escaped to the mountains. Hundreds of others managed to escape, or hiding among the caves & rocks, hunted like wild beasts, managed to elude the soldiers.

    About half of these fugitives, including Tsali, placed themselves under command of a chief named Utsala (Lichen), who made his headquarters among the most inaccessible peaks, at the head of Oconaluftee River. Gen. Scott sent word to Utsala, through Col. W. H. Thomas, an adopted Cherokee & their most trusted friend, that if Tsali & his family were returned for punishment, the remaining fugitives would be permitted to stay unmolested, until an effort could be made to secure permission from the Gov't for them to remain.

    On hearing the proposition, Charlie & his sons immediately came in, offering themselves as a sacrifice for their people. By order of Gen. Scott, Tsali, his brother, & 2 elder sons, were shot, a detachment of Cherokee prisoners being forced to do the shooting, to impress upon them the absolute helplessness of their position.

    Tsali sleeps today in an unknown grave. By his sacrifice his people live on the Qualla reservation in NC, "Land where their fathers died"."


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