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Odd Wisconsin Archive

Black Hawk Upstages the President

Dateline: Near Viroqua, Aug. 2, 1832. On this date the Black Hawk War ended when American troops, who had ignored repeated white flags of surrender, opened fire from land and water on Black Hawk and his civilian followers as they tried to retreat across the Mississippi. This brutal show of force effectively ended Indian military resistance in Wisconsin, but it also elicited much sympathy for Black Hawk and the Indian cause in general. When the Sauk chief was released from prison the next year, he was sent to Washington, D.C. where with President Andrew Jackson he set out on a tour of eastern cities. According to this contemporary newspaper article, Black Hawk upstaged the President so effectively in front of huge and generally sympathetic crowds that he was sent quickly home. A short history of his tragic attempt to return to his tribe's Illinois lands is available in our collection of Wisconsin Local History & Biography Articles.
:: Posted in Curiosities on August 2, 2004
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