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GENERAL WINFIELD SCOTT.
HE genial soil of the Old Dominion, noble, brave, patriotic Virginia, which has given to the republic a host of illustrious names, in the senate, the army, and on the ocean,
was the birthplace also of the gallant soldier whose life forms the subject of the present sketch.
Winfield Scott was born June 13th, 1786, at the family seat, near Petersburg. His parents were of Scottish descent.
Of his earlier years but litile is know. out of the circle of his family. He chose the legal profession, and finished his studies at about his twenty-first year. His disposition for military pursuits manifested itself about the same time. The proclamation of the president, issued after the dastardly attack on the Chesapeake,
Taken prisoner at Queenstown.
having induced the formation of volunteer corps in various parts of the country, Scott enrolled himself in the troop of horse raised in Petersburg. This was in 1807.
Early in the succeeding year he obtained a commission as captain in the light artillery corps of the United States army. During the four years intervening before the declaration of war, he continued in this rank, but nothing occurred to break the monotony of a soldier's life in time of peace.
On the breaking out of hostilities with England, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the 2d regiment of artillery, and ordered to Black Rock, where lieutenant, afterwards Commodore, Elliott, and himself co-operated in cutting out two British armed brigs, anchored under the guns of Fort Erie.
On the 13th of October, 1812, he was taken prisoner in the battle of Queenstown, after resisting with three hundred, an army of enemies numbering thirteen hundred.
During the battle he had been conspicuous for daring courage and perfect coolness and self-possession. His tall and commanding form made him a constant mark for the Indian sharp shooters, who vainly tried to hit him. So great was their exasperation at their want of success, that after the battle they could with difficulty be restrained from committing violence to his person, and it was found necessary to place him under a close guard.
Having been exchanged, he rejoined the army in May, 1813, and shortly afterwards won the battle of Fort George. He was the first to enter the fort and pull down the British flag, closely followed by Colonel
In the battles of Chippewa and Niagara.
Porter, who exclaimed, “Confound your long legs, Scott, you have got in before me.”
On the 9th of March, 1814, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier-general. In that capacity he fought in the battle of Chippewa. He was ever where the balls flew thickest. During the battle, he called out to a battalion, “ The enemy say we are good at longshot, but cannot stand the cold iron. I call on the 11th instantly to give the lie to that slander. Charge!” The charge thus ordered decided the day. In the battle of Niagara, which soon followed, General Scott had two horses killed under him, received a wound in the side in the midst of the action, and was afterwards dangerously wounded in the shoulder. For many weeks he suffered from the wounds received on this day. Congress passed a vote of thanks for his skill and gallantry at Chippewa and Niagara, and for his uniform good conduct throughout the war, a compliment paid by Congress to no other officer. A gold medal was also voted to him by Congress. This medal General Scott afterwards deposited in the City Bank of New York for safe keeping. The bank was entered and robbed of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, but the gold medal was left. The robber afterwards said, when arrested, that in taking the gold beside it, he saw the medal, and knew its value, but scorned to rob a man of the reward given by the gratitude of his country for distinguished services. The states of New York and Virginia each voted him thanks and a sword. After the close of the war, General Scott visited Europe.
He took part in the Black Hawk war, the part of a nurse in the hospitals, where he watched with the utmost
Removes the Cherokee Indians.
solicitude, while sick himself, the bedsides of the many unfortunate soldiers who were sick with the cholera.
In the days of the nullification question he prepared to stand by General Jackson in the preservation of the Union, but took care by his bearing to conciliate rather than exasperate the people of South Carolina. In the Florida war he was unfortunate, devastating diseases and the lateness of ihe season preventing his meeting the enemy, though his plan of campaign was well devised, and prosecuted with zeal, energy, steadiness, and ability.
During the winter of 1838–9, he was occupied on the Canada frontier, every where by turns, without an army, travelling principally by night, with the thermometer ranging from ten to forty degrees below the freezing point. He made speeches to excited sympathizing Americans with arms in their hands, scattered along a line of eight hundred miles, and with the happiest effect. To the firmness of President Van Buren, and the signal ability of General Scott the country owed its exemption from what appeared to be the inevitable war with Great Britain.
By his masterly skill and energy he also saved the country from difficulties with the Cherokees, whom he removed to the west. By obtaining the esteem and confidence of the poor Cherokees themselves, his noble generosity and humanity effected what all supposed could not be done without the most heartrending scenes of butchery and bloodshed. The Indians, who a few months before were ready to yield their lives rather than leave their homes, looked upon the very man who had