Black Hawk War

The Black Hawk War took place through April 1832 to August 1832. In April of 1832, Black Hawk crossed the Mississippi River and headed toward his homeland. This frightened many in the US military, and they assembled many men to remove them. Indian agents attempted to encourage the British Band to return across the Mississippi peacefully. They did not accomplish their goal, and both sides prepared for war. When Black Hawk met with the Winnebago, whom he had considered allies, he was informed that they would not support him as White Cloud had said they would. However, this did not stop Black Hawk, and he continued. Lacking Winnebago assistance, he turned to another group of Native Americans: the Potawatomy. The Potawatomy also refused to assist Black Hawk. Black Hawk then sought out British assistance and was informed that he would not be receiving their help either. The British forces were Black Hawk’s last hope of defeating the Americans and this put him at a disadvantage.7

Black Hawk continued up the Rock River. This scared many settlers in the area and sparked the construction of many impromptu forts to defend themselves.8 In the first conflict with the American forces, Black Hawk defeated a group of militia men who were poorly organized and suffering from a troublesome command structure. Prior to the fight, the militia cautiously contacted Black Hawk and the Native Americans with him. While some of Black Hawk’s men were talking to the leaders of the militia, another group of Black Hawk’s men were attacked, and the ensuing fight was a massive victory for the native Americans.2 The conflict resulted in a retreat by the militia after suffering many casualties. In the following weeks, a series of conflicts arose, inciting panic among the nearby settlers. The British Band and their supporters carried out many slaughters and raids throughout Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin.

In response to this panic, the US forces tracked down the British Band as they tried to escape across the Mississippi River. The British Band was starving and weakened and was attempting to escape to perceived safety across the river.8 Black Hawk and the British Band tried to cross the Mississippi River on August 1, 1832 near Bad Axe River. They were met with a military steam boat which attacked them. The following day the British Band were attacked again by around 1,600 American soldiers. Around 200 Native Americans were killed in the conflict, but Black Hawk managed to escape to a nearby village. Those who did make it safely across the river were met by Sioux warriors who attacked them. Black Hawk left the village he escaped to and surrendered to the US forces, signing a treaty to conclude the war.5

Black Hawk did everything he could to resist the US government, but he was ultimately unsuccessful in defeating them. Black Hawk's War was an attempt to resist the subjugation at the hands of the US Government. He tried to return to his homeland which had been stolen from him, but was ultimately defeated. Very few in his time had the will to resist the US Government, but Black Hawk stood against them. Black Hawk was a great leader who tried to return his people to the homeland that had been taken from them.


The Battle of Bad Axe

The Battle of Bad Axe