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Historic Diaries: Black Hawk War Documents

One of Wisconsin's greatest tragedies unfolded during the summer of 1832, when hundreds of Indians led by the Sauk War Chief Black Hawk fled from U.S. troops and local militia for nearly four months. Future U.S. president Abraham Lincoln was in a regiment that pursued Black Hawk through Illinois and into Wisconsin, and future Confederate president Jefferson Davis personally escorted the captured war chief to prison at the end of the war. We are sharing a different eyewitness account or firsthand report from the war each day from early April to early August, 2007. Click the bold headlines below to read these documents and their commentaries, and use the syndication link on the left to have each day's installment automatically delivered to your personal Web page.

  • After the War
    1832, Sept. 19: A peace treaty was signed, requiring the Sauk and Fox to stay west of the Mississippi and cede a 50-mile-wide strip of the Iowa shore. 1832, Aug. to. April 1833: Black Hawk and The Winnebago Prophet were...

  • Aug. 27, Prairie du Chien: Black Hawk Surrenders
    I started with my little party to the Winnebago village at Prairie La Cross. On my arrival there I entered the lodge of one of the chiefs, and told him that I wished him to go with me to his...

  • Aug 2, Bad Axe: Accounts by Atkinson, Black Hawk and Others
    To Maj. General Winfield Scott Head Qrs., 1st Army Corps, North West Army, Fort Crawford, Prairie du Chien 9th August 1832 Sir, I informed you on the 5th Inst by a short official note of the action on the...

  • August 2: A Soldier's Account of the Massacre at Bad Axe
    They [the American soldiers and militia] all joined in the work of death - for death it was. We were by this time fast getting rid of those demons in human shape [the Sauk]. About a half hour after the...

  • August 1: Black Hawk Reaches the Mississippi
    Myself and band having no means to descend the Wisconsin, I started over a rugged country, to go to the Mississippi, intending to cross it and return to my nation. Many of our people were compelled to go on foot,...



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