General Scott Arrives at Chicago

Gen. Scott, with a full regiment of regulars, came up the lake and landed at Chicago about the 10th of July–the cholera in the meantime having broken out among his troops, from which several had died. While encamped at that point, it continued its virulence to such an extent, and in a number of cases fatally, that he deemed it best to much out on the high land, and soon after continued his journey, by slow marches, to Rock Island. On reaching Rock river, where Milan is now situated, the cholera had disappeared, and he went into camp with his entire regiment. The clear water of this beautiful stream was a Godsend to the many tired men, for the ablution of their bodies and the cleansing of their apparel, tents, etc., and seemed to have a general invigorating effect upon the entire regiment.

Gen. Scott then went over to Rock Island with two companies to garrison Fort Armstrong, and there learned the situation of affairs in the army, and the great reduction made in the ranks of Black Hawk’s band of Indians, so that a final close of the war was daily expected.

A few days after their arrival at Fort Armstrong, symptoms of cholera again appeared among the troops of the company, and the physician in charge tried every known remedy to check it, but failed in every instance, and after running its course, which was usually about twenty-four hours, the patient died. During the first three or four days of its ravages, about one-half of that company had been consigned to their last resting place in the soldiers’ cemetery.

Being on a visit to Rock Island at the time the cholera was raging, the writer, at the request of Col. Wm. Berry, (who had also come down from Galena to pay his respects to Gen. Scott,) accompanied him to the Fort and introduced him to the General. It was a very warm, but beautiful Sabbath, when we were admitted to the General’s quarters, about 10 o’clock in the morning, and after the introduction of our friend and the usual salutations of the day, the General, after expressing his doubts of the propriety of admitting us into the Fort, forcibly and touchingly detailed the ravages that the cholera was making in his ranks. Medicine, in the hands of a skillful physician, seemed to have no effect to stay its progress, and he was just on the eve of trying a different remedy as we came in, and if we would join him in a glass of brandy and water, he would proceed at once to put it into execution. He said he was satisfied that brandy was a good antidote to cholera, and by its use many of his soldiers were still well.

The General’s Remedy

The General pulled off his coat, rolled up his sleeves, and directed an orderly to tear off strips of red flannel, fill a bucket with brandy and carry them to the hospital. On arriving at the bedside of a patient he directed him to be stripped, and then with flannel soaked in brandy he rubbed his chest thoroughly, in order to bring on a reaction, in the meantime administering a little brandy with a spoon. In the course of half an hour he returned and reported progress. He said he left his patient free from pain, and directed a small portion of the brandy to be given occasionally.

The well soldiers, seeing that their General was not afraid of cholera, nor too proud to act as nurse to a sick soldier, took courage and insisted on his retiring, so that they could fill his place. Seeing that new life had been infused among the well soldiers, and a gleam of hope seeming to inspire the sick, he gave directions for them to continue, as he had commenced, and then retired.

On returning to his quarters he washed his hands, rolled down his sleeves, put on his uniform, and then invited us to take a little brandy. After listening to his mode of treatment, we casually remarked that it looked feasible, but at the same time reprehensible in the General of the army exposing himself in the performance of a duty that could be done as well by a common soldier. He gave us a look, and kept his eyes upon us as his giant form raised up, and, with a sweep of his sword arm, said in majestic tones: “Sir, it is the duty of a General to take care of his army; should he fall another can take his place; but, without an army his occupation is gone!”

The General’s treatment was continued right along, and the result was that many of those attacked got well.

Soon after the close of the war, which terminated with the battle of Bad Axe, on the second day of August, 1832, he came to Galena, and, in conference with Governor John Reynolds, ordered the chiefs head men and warriors of the Winnebago Nation to meet them at Fort Armstrong, Rock Island, on the 15th day of September, 1832, for the purpose of holding a treaty.

At the time fixed by the Commissioners they were met by the chiefs, head men and warriors of the Winnebago Nation, with whom a treaty was made and concluded, by which the Winnebago ceded to the United States all the lands claimed by them lying to the south and east of Wisconsin river and the Fox river of Green Bay. The consideration of this cession on the part of the United States, to be a grant to the Winnebago Nation of a tract on the west side of the Mississippi river known as the neutral ground and annual annuities for twenty-seven years of $10,000 in specie and a further sum, not to exceed $3,000 annually, for the purposes of maintaining a farm and a school for the education of Winnebago children during the same period of twenty-seven years.

Treaty With Sacs And Foxes

After concluding the treaty with the Winnebago, and for the purpose of making a lasting peace with the Sacs and Foxes, these Commissioners held a treaty at the same place, and a week later, on the 21st day of September, with chiefs, head men and warriors of that confederate tribe. The Commissioners demanded, partly as indemnity for expenses incurred in the late war with Black Hawk’s band and to secure future tranquility, a cession of a large portion of their country bordering on the frontiers. In consideration thereof the United States agree to pay to said confederate tribes annually, for thirty years, $20,000 in specie; also, to pay Messrs. Farnham and Davenport, Indian traders at Rock Island, the sum of $40,000, to be receipted for in full of all demands against said Indians. And, further, at the special request of said confederate tribes, the United States agree to grant, by letters patent, to their particular friend, Antoine LeClair, interpreter, one section of land opposite Rock Island and one section at the head of the rapids of the Mississippi river.


Black Hawk, Patterson, J. B., editor, Leclair, Atoine, interpreter  Autobiography of Black Hawk or Ma-Ka-Tai-Me-She-Kia-Kiak, Self Published by J. B. Patterson, 1882.

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