Stop 2: Tragedy of War
(415 East Wilson St., Madison)
Take Atwood Avenue to First Street. Take
a right on First Street and drive one block and take a left on
East Washington Avenue. You will see the Capitol in front of you.
Turn left on Blair Street and then a right on Wilson Street. To
your left you will see a small grassy area across from the Essen
House. Historical Marker #397.
July 21, 1832
Captain Daniel M. Parkinson, Michigan Territory Militia under Dodge writes:
On the bank of the third lake [Monona]...our advance guard killed an Indian, who...was sitting upon the grave of his wife, who had perhaps died of fatigue, hunger and exhuastion, and her disconsolate companion had resolved to await the advancing foe, and die there also; and he boldly bared his naked breast, and presented a full front, as a willing target for the balls of the scouts. He but too soon met the death he coveted. This may be thought to have been cruel on the part of the scouts; but it will be recollected that our motto was, 'no quarter'...3
On the morning of the 21st, Henry's and Dodge's militias pursued after Black Hawk's band and found several stragglers like the individual mentioned by Parkinson. All stragglers were shot on sight without any opportunity to surrender. In fact, many of the troops wanted to get a trophy -- an Indian scalp.
The surgeon of the Illinois militia shot a surprised Indian on what is probably now University grounds near Lake Mendota. After seeing the Indian fall, he promptly grabbed the Indian's own knife and began to scalp him. "The pain partially revived the victim, who muttered some words in his native gutteral, which elicited from the surgeon the following: 'if you don't like being scalped with a dull knife, why don't you keep a better one?' He then dispatched [killed] the Indian..."4
The surgeon, named Dr. Addison Philleo, collected two scalps that morning from straggling and starving Sauks. He was not only a surgeon, but also the publisher of the weekly newspaper in Galena, Illinois, which printed many of Philleo's 'heroic' exploits in the Black Hawk War.