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Wisconsin National Register of Historic Places

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Pecatonica Battlefield (Robert Fay photo, 2010)

Pecatonica Battlefield (Robert Fay photo, 2010)

Pecatonica Battlefield (Robert Fay photo, 2010)

Pecatonica Battlefield
Blackhawk Memorial Park, Town of Wiota, Lafayette County

Blackhawk Memorial Park has long been known as the site of the Battle of the Pecatonica or Battle of Bloody Lake. It was here, on the eastern shore of Bloody Lake, where a small, but decisive, "battle" or skirmish took place in 1832 that changed the nature of the Black Hawk War. A group of militia led by Henry Dodge followed a group of Native Americans to this area after they had attacked white settlers. The natives were waiting in the water on the eastern bank of Bloody Lake and when they rose up against the militia, Henry Dodge led his men in killing all the Indians, with only a few militia casualties. This small skirmish changed attitudes about the militia's ability to successfully defeat the natives and made Henry Dodge a notable figure in Wisconsin. The battle was not the largest military action of the Black Hawk War, but was notable for galvanizing white settlers to continue the fight to move the Indians permanently across the Mississippi River, opening southern Wisconsin for vast settlement.

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