AUGUST 2, 1832


The discovery of lead brought miners into lands ceded to the Sauk and Fox by an 1804 treaty.  The Black Hawk War began when his “British Band” of Sauk and Fox, Kickapoo, Ho-Chunk, and Potawatomi defeated the Illinois militia at Stillman’s Run in May of 1832.  By June, the tide had turned.  The last encounter occurred near current-day Victory, Wisconsin.  Ho-Chunk prophet, White Cloud, advised seeking refuge to the north with his people, but most chose to cross the Mississippi River.  On August 1, the steamboat Warrior blocked most from crossing.  Despite Black Hawk waving a white flag, the Army attacked.  Afterward, Black Hawk and several followers chose to go north; others remained.  The next day saw a brutal massacre.  Of between 400-500 band members, over 150, including women and children, were killed by troops—most in the water trying to escape.  Those killed were scalped.  Many who made it across the river were killed or captured by Sioux who were acting with the U.S. Army.

Source:  “The Massacre at Bad Ax and Surrender,” The Encyclopedia Britannica.  Retrieved 6/4/2020,
Sketch:  Henry Lewis (1819-1904), 1848.  Public Domain.  Source:  What the River Carries: Encounters with the Mississippi, Missouri, and Platte - Lisa Knopp - Google Books, p. 27.  

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