British Band

The British Band was a group of Native Americans which fought against Illinois and Michigan Territory militia units during the 1832 Black Hawk War. The band was composed of about 1,500 men, women, and children from the Sauk, Meskwaki, Fox, Kickapoo, Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk, and Ottawa nations; about 500 of that number were warriors. The alliance of Black Hawk with the British dated back to the War of 1812, giving them their colloquial name. The band crossed the Mississippi River into Illinois in an attempt to reclaim their homeland and in violation of several treaties. Subsequently, both the Illinois and Michigan Territory militia were called up and the Black Hawk War ensued.

Following a surprising British Band victory at the Battle of Stillman's Run, several small massacres and skirmishes followed. Most of the engagements were militarily insignificant until the final two encounters at Wisconsin Heights and the Bad Axe River. Members of the Band who were not killed in the war were either captured or returned home. Those taken prisoner during the decisive battle and the weeks afterward were released at the end of August 1832 by Winfield Scott. Black Hawk was himself taken east, where in 1833 he dictated his autobiography, the first Native American autobiography published in the United States.

Read more about British Band:  Background, Prelude To War, Aftermath

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