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The War Of Black Hawk Essay

1388 words - 6 pages

The Black Hawk War was a major conflict between the United States of America and the Native Americans. It, like many Native American versus America wars, is fairly unknown. It took place in the year of 1832. There are many things one should know about the Black Hawk War, such as what started it, the major military events, and what happened once the war was finished.
Before the war began, William Henry Harrison, who would later find himself to be the President of the United States, negotiated a treaty in 1804 with two Sauk representatives that he thought opened all Sauk lands to the east of the Mississippi River for only $2,500. The Sauk Indians in Wisconsin and Illinois did not approve of the treaty, saying that the two Indians who signed were drunk and did not have the authority to speak for the whole tribe (Wyman and Hagan). Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak, otherwise known as Black Hawk, also said the treaty was invalid; however, he later confirmed the treaty with his own signature in 1816, but then said he did not understand that it would mean he would later have to give up his home village of Saukenuk on the Rock River. Settlers moved into this village and Black Hawk returned with his band to plant corn. The settlers were frightened at this, and they frantically requested militia support. When they arrived, Black Hawk's band was already gone and the U.S. agreed to supply them with corn if they stayed out of the area (“Black Hawk War begins”).
Later Black Hawk led his band of 1,200 Sauk, 400 braves and their families, back across the Mississippi River to the area in April of 1832, hoping to get the support of the Ho-Chunk and the British if fighting erupted (“Black Hawk War”). General Henry Atkinson then gathered a large force of volunteers to chase them. The United States army closed in and Black Hawk, realizing that no support was coming, attempted to surrender. The untrained militia shot and killed one of his three envoys, which were under a white flag of surrender, in the confusion and charged towards his band, muskets loaded and bayonets raised. Black Hawk then successfully managed to counterattack the militia. The shocked militia, not expecting the Indians to fight back, abruptly turned and fled, many dropping their weapons and supplies in the panic. Black Hawk's band gleefully collected what they had left and retreated up into present day Wisconsin to begin trying to get back safely across the Mississippi River. This Indian victory was a major demoralization to the United States (“Black Hawk War begins”).
Many other military events occurred, such as the Indian raiding parties. One Indian raiding party killed all of the white settlers at Indian Creek while the raiding party was scavenging supplies in the area for the band, which was running low on food. Militiamen in the Battle of Pecatonica, in which the raiding party was defeated, attacked another Sauk raiding party. There was then the Battle of Wisconsin Heights. In this battle, sixty...

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