- Black Hawk War
- In the spring of 1831, the Sauk
Indians led by Chief Keokuk left their
- ancestral home near the mouth of
the Rock River and moved across the Mississippi, to fulfill the
terms of a treaty signed in 1804.
- On April 6, 1832, a dissatisfied
faction led by Black Hawk returned with 400
- warriors and 1200 women, children
and old men. Why he risked this return to "my towns, my
cornfields, and the homes of my people" in the face of certain
opposition is not clear, but Black Hawk probably hoped that other
Indians would join him in resisting further white settlement.
- When this hope failed and the Illinois
militia was called up, Black Hawk sent
- messages to negotiate for peaceable
removal across the Mississippi. One of his messengers was shot
by the excited and poorly-disciplined militia and the war was
on. The Indians briefly took the offensive and scalping parties
attacked isolated communities of white settlers.
- The exact route taken by Black Hawk
as he retreated through southern
- Wisconsin toward the Mississippi
is difficult to trace, because both pursued and pursuers were
traveling unfamiliar terrain and their later accounts varied.
Major engagements took place at Wisconsin Heights and at the
Bad Axe, where the war ended August 2, 1832.
- [Map of route]
- Erected in 1968