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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


May 17, 2003 - Issue 87


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A Relic From Past - Louis Coulong

From a Green Bay Newspaper 1870
credits: submitted by Timm Severud (Ondamitag)

Louis Coulong, who lives on the Oneida Reservation, in this county, was born in France, on New Years Day 1796, and will therefore be 75 years old next New Year. He is now as hale and hearty as a young man of 21 and more lively and active than most of them, and his memory is astonishingly vivid. He called on us last week, and we glean from him the following facts in regard to his eventful life.

From 1812 to 1814, he was a soldier under the first Napoleon in his great campaign in Europe, serving as drummer. He remembers Napoleon well. Describes him as resembling somewhat General Grant in build, but a very dark complexion; having a passionate love for his soldiers, and treating them with even more kindness that he did his officers. He was present at the Battle of Waterloo, but on a vessel.

In 1818 having immigrated to this country, he came to Green Bay with Captain Cass and the 5th Regiment, making the journey here in Mackinac boats. The regiment camped about where the residence of the widow of Daniel Whitney now stands. Fort Howard, (the original fort) was then new. From here he went to Fort Snelling, in the present State of Minnesota, in a Mackinac boat, where he remained about 7 years and then returned to Green Bay. He knew Generals Scott, Taylor and Lee at Fort Howard.

In the Winnebago War of 1827 he served under General Atkinson.

On the breaking out of the Rebellion in 1861, he immediately enlisted, and served as the Drum Major und Col. Paine for two years in the 4th Regiment. Then entered the 36th Regiment under Col. Haskell as Drum Major, and served to the end of the war, having the honorable position of the Right of the Army of the Potomac. He passed through the dismal days of the Battle of the Wilderness.

When he came here there were but seven houses, and they were of logs. Of the Fox River he says that a man could stand on this side and call to a man on the other, 'Friend throw me a dollar.' The other man could readily throw a silver dollar across the river. The river was not wide enough then for a large steamer to turn around. The 'Walk-on-the-Water' was the first steamer that ever came here, in 1821, and in leaving she backed out. The first schooner was the La Grange, in 1819.

Mr. Coulong was married to an Oneida squaw, and he has since affiliated with the Indians and lives on their reservation.

He is one of the best drummers we have ever known and retains perfectly his remarkable powers. We believe that if another war should break out now he would be the first here to call around the Star Spangled Banner, as of yore, by the soul stirring music of our national songs, and of the old loved Marsellaise, able defenders of our Stars and Stripes from the four quarters of the globe. May he see a hundred years, or more, and his last days be his best.

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