Published on February 17, 2013 by Carol
The Black Hawk War of 1832 resulted in the deaths at least 70 settlers and soldiers, and hundreds of Black Hawk’s band. As well as the combat casualties of the war, a relief force under General Winfield Scott suffered hundreds deserted and dead, many from cholera. The end of the war at Bad Axe ended the large-scale threat of Native American attacks in northwest Illinois, and allowed further settlement of Illinois and what became Iowa and Wisconsin.
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The members of the British Band, and the Fox, Kickapoo, Sauk, Ho-Chunk and Potawatomi that later joined them, suffered unknown numbers of dead during the war. While some died fighting, others were tracked down and killed by Sioux, Menominee, Ho-Chunk, and other native tribes. Still others died of starvation or drowned during the Band’s long trek up the Rock River toward the mouth of the Bad Axe. The entire British Band was not wiped out at Bad Axe; some survivors drifted back home to their villages. This was relatively simple for the Potawatomi and Ho-Chunk of the band. Many Sauk and Fox found return to their homes more difficult, and while some returned safely, others were held in custody by the army. Prisoners, some taken at the Battle of Bad Axe, and others taken by U.S.-aligned Native American tribes in the following weeks, were taken to Fort Armstrong at modern Rock Island, Illinois. About 120 prisoners – men, women, and children – waited until the end of August to be released by General Winfield Scott.
Black Hawk and most of the leaders of the British Band were not immediately captured following the conclusion of hostilities. On 20 August, Sauk and Fox under Keokuk turned over Neapope and several other British Band chiefs to Winfield Scott at Fort Armstrong. Black Hawk, however, remained elusive. After fleeing the battle scene with White Cloud and a small group of warriors, Black Hawk had moved northeast toward the headwaters of the La Crosse River. The group camped for a few days and was eventually counseled by a group of Ho-Chunk, which included White Cloud’s brother, to surrender. Though they initially resisted the pleas for surrender, the group eventually traveled to the Ho-Chunk village at La Crosse and prepared to surrender. On 27 August 1832, Black Hawk, White Cloud and the remnants of the British Band surrendered to Joseph M. Street at Prairie du Chien