previous next

Black Hawk

(Ma-ka-tae-mish-kia-kiak), a famous Indian: born in Kaskaskia, Ill., in 1767. He was a Pottawattomie by birth, but became a noted chief of the Saes and Foxes. He was accounted a brave when he was fifteen years of age, and soon [353] afterwards led expeditions of war parties against the Osage Indians in Missouri and the Cherokees in Georgia. He became head chief of the Sacs when he was twenty-one years old (1788). Inflamed by Tecumseh and presents from the British agents, he joined the British in the War of 1812-15, with the commission of brigadier-general, leading about 500 warriors. He again reappeared in history in hostilities against the white people on the Northwestern frontier settlements in 1832. In that year eight of a party of Chippewas, on a visit to Fort Snelling, on the west banks of the upper Mississippi, were killed or wounded by a party of Sioux. Four of the latter were afterwards captured by the commander of the garrison at Fort Snelling and delivered up to the Chippewas, who immediately shot them.

The chief of the Sioux (Red Bird) resolved to be revenged, and he and some companions killed several white people. General Atkinson, in command in the Northwest, finally captured Red Bird and a party of Winnebagoes. Red Bird died in prison soon afterwards, when Black Hawk, having been released from confinement, at once began hostilities against the white people on the frontier. General Gaines marched to the village of the Sacs, when they humbly sued for peace. At the same time Black Hawk and a band of followers were murdering the Menomonees, who were friendly to the white inhabitants. Black Hawk crossed the Mississippi, and General Atkinson took the field against him; but in July the cholera broke out among the troops, and whole companies were almost destroyed. In one instance only nine survived out of a corps of 208. Atkinson was reinforced, and, with a command greatly superior to that of Black Hawk, pressed him so closely that the latter sent the women and children of his band down the Mississippi in canoes and prepared for a final struggle.

A severe fight occurred (Aug. 1, 1832) on Bad Axe River, in which twenty-three Indians were killed without loss to the troops. The contest was between 400 Indians and some United States troops on board the steamboat Warrior, which had been sent up the river. After the fight the Warrior returned to Prairie du Chien. The contest was renewed the next morning between Black Hawk and troops led by General Atkinson, when the Indians were defeated and dispersed, with a considerable loss in killed and wounded. and thirty-six of their women and children made prisoners. There were eight of the troops killed and seventy-seven wounded. Black Hawk was pursued over the Wisconsin River, and at a strong position the fugitive chief made a stand with about 300 men. After a severe battle for three hours he fled, and barely escaped, with the loss of 150 of his bravest warriors and his second in command. The chief himself was finally captured by a party of friendly Winnebagoes and given up to General Steele at Prairie du Chien.

Treaties were then made with the hostile tribes by which the United States acquired valuable lands on favorable terms. Black Hawk, his two sons, and six principal chiefs were retained as hostages. The chief and his sons were taken to Washington to visit the President; and then they were shown some of the principal cities of the North and East to impress them with the greatness of the American people. The hostages, after confinement in Fort Monroe, were liberated at Fort Armstrong, Rock Island, Ill., in August, 1833. Black Hawk being deposed. Keokuk was made chief of the Sacs and Foxes, when the former settled on the Des Moines River. Black Hawk died Oct. 3. 1838.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Edward Atkinson (4)
Charles Bird (3)
William Tecumseh (1)
Frederick Steele (1)
Edward Pendleton Gaines (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
October 3rd, 1838 AD (1)
August, 1833 AD (1)
August 1st, 1832 AD (1)
1832 AD (1)
1812 AD (1)
1788 AD (1)
1767 AD (1)
1715 AD (1)
July (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: