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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor



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Winfield Scott

SCOTT, Winfield, soldier, born in Dinwiddie county, near Petersburg, Virginia, 13 June, 1786; died at West Point, New York, 29 May, 1866. He was educated at William and Mary college, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1806, and in 1808 entered the army as a captain of light artillery. While stationed at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1809, he was court-martialled for remarks on the conduct of his superior officer, General Wilkinson, and was suspended for one year, which he devoted to the study of military tactics. In July, 1812, he was made lieutenant-colonel and ordered to the Canada frontier. Arriving at Lewis-ton while the affair of Queenstown heights was in progress, he crossed the river, and the field was won under his direction; but it was afterward lost and he and his command were taken prisoners from the refusal of the troops at Lewiston to cross to their assistance. In January, 1813, he was exchanged and joined the army under General Dearborn as adjutant-general with tile rank of colonel. In the attack on Fort George, 27 May, he was severely hurt by the explosion of a powder-magazine. In the autumn he commanded the advance in Wilkinson's descent of the St. Lawrence--an operation directed against Montreal, but which was abandoned. In March, 1814, he was made a brigadier-general, and established a camp of instruction at Buffalo. On 3 July, Scott's and Ripley's brigades, with Hind-man's artillery, crossed the Niagara river and took Fort Erie and a part of its garrison. On the 5th was fought the battle of Chippewa, resulting in the defeat of the enemy, and on 25 July that of Lundy's Lane, or Bridgewater, near Niagara Falls, in which Scott had two horses killed under him and was twice severely wounded. His wound of the left shoulder was critical, his recovery painful and slow, and his arm was left partially disabled. At the close of the war Scott was offered and declined a seat in the cabinet as secretary of war, and was promoted to be major-general, with the thanks of congress and a gold medal for his services. He assisted in the reduction of the army to a peace establishment, and then visited Europe in a military and diplomatic capacity. He returned to the United States in 1816, and in 1.817 married Miss Mayo, of Richmond, Virginia A part of his time he now devoted to the elaboration of a manual of firearms and military tactics. In 1832 he set out from Fort Dearborn (now Chicago, Illinois) with a detachment to take part in the hostilities against tile Sacs and Foxes, but the capture of Black Hawk ended the war before Scott's arrival on tile field. In the same year he commanded the Federal forces in Charleston harbor during the nullification troubles, and his tact, discretion, and decision did much to prevent the threatened civil war. In 1835 he went to Florida to engage in the war with the Seminoles, and afterward to the Creek country. He was recalled in 1837 and subjected to inquiry for the failure of his campaigns, the court finding in his favor. In 1838 he was efficient in promoting the peaceful removal of the Cherokees from Georgia to their present reservation beyond the Mississippi. The threatened collision with Great Britain, growing out of the disputed boundary-line between Maine and New Brunswick, was averted in 1839, mainly through the pacific efforts of Scott, and tile question was finally settled by the Webster-Ashburton treaty of 1842 By the death of General Macomb in 1841 Scott became commander-in-chief of the army of the United States. In 1847 he was assigned to the chief command of the army in Mexico. Drawing a portion of Taylor's troops operating from the Rio Grande, and assembling his force at Lobos island, on 9 March he landed 12,000 men and invested Vera Cruz. The mortar battery opened on the 22d, and the siegeguns two days later, and on the 26th the city and the castle of San Juan d'Ulloa capitulated, after nearly 7,000 missiles had been fired. The garrison of 5,000 men grounded arms outside of the city on the 29th. On 8 April, Scott began his march toward Jalapa, and on the 17th reached the Mexican army under Santa-Anna, which occupied the strong mountain-pass of Cerro Gordo, in a defile formed by the Rio del Plan. On the following morning at sunrise the Americans, 8,500 strong, attacked the Mexican army of more than 12,000, and at 2 P. M. had driven the enemy from every point of his line, capturing 5 generals, 3,000 men, 4,500 stand of arms, and 43 cannon, and killing and wounding more than 1,000, with a loss of less than 500. Paroling his prisoners and destroying most of the stores, Scott advanced on the next day to Jalapa, which he captured on 19 April. Perote was occupied on the 22d, and Puebla on 15 May. Here the army remained, drilling and waiting for re-enforcements till 7 August General Scott had vainly asked that the new troops should be disciplined and instructed in the United States before joining the army in Mexico, and the failure to do this gave Santa-Anna an opportunity to create a new army and fortify the capital. Scott began on 7 August to advance toward the city of Mexico by the National road, and, while diverting the attention of the enemy by a feint on the strong fortress of El Pefion on the northwest, made a detour to San Augustin on the south. He then attacked and carried successively Contreras and Churubusco, and could have taken the capital, but an armistice till 7 September was agreed upon to allow the peace commissioner, Nicholas P. Trist, an opportunity to negotiate. At its close, operations were resumed on the southwest of the city, defended by 14,000 Mexicans occupying Nolino del Rey, and General Worth's loss was in storming Molino del Rey before the attack on the wooded and strongly fortified eminence of Chapultepec. On 8 September, General Worth with 3,500 men attacked Molino del Rey, capturing much materiel and more than 800 prisoners, but losing one fourth of his command, including fifty-eight officers. On the 13th Chapultepec was stormed and carried, and on the morning of the 14th Scott's army marched into the city and occupied the national palace. There was some street-fighting and firing upon the troops from the buildings, but this was soon suppressed, order was established, and a contribution levied on the city of $150,000, two thirds of which General Scott remitted to the United States to found military asylums. Taxes were laid for the support of the army, and a civil organization under the protection of the troops was created. The treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, negotiated by Mr. Trist and other commissioners, Judge Clifford, afterward of the supreme court, of the number, was signed on 2 February, 1848, and soon after Mexico was evacuated by the United States troops. A court of inquiry into the conduct of the war only redounded to the fame of Scott. In 1852 he was the candidate of the Whig party for the presidency, and received the electoral votes of Vermont, Massachusetts, Kentucky, and Tennessee, all the other states voting for the Democratic candidate, General Pierce. In 1859 General Scott as commissioner successfully settled the difficulty arising from the disputed boundary-line of the United States and British America through the Straits of Fuca. Age and infirmity prevented him from taking an active part in the civil war, and on 31 October, 1861, he retired from service, retaining his rank, pay, and allowances. Soon afterward he made a brief visit to Europe, and he passed most of the remainder of his days at West Point, remarking when he arrived there for the last time: "I have come here to die." Two weeks he lingered, , and then fell for a short time into a stupor, from which he aroused, retaining entire possession of his mental faculties and recognizing his family and attendants to the last. A few minutes after eleven on the morning of 29 May he passed away so calmly that the exact moment of his death was not known. As Frederick the Great& last completely conscious utterance was in reference to his favorite English greyhound, Scott's was in regard to his magnificent horse, the same noble animal that followed in his funeral procession a few days later. Turning to his servant, the old veteran's last words were:" James, take good care of the horse." In accordance with his expressed wish, he was buried at West Point on 1 June, and his remains were accompanied to the grave by many of the most illustrious men of the land, including General Grant and Admiral Farragut. General Scott was a man of true courage, personally, morally, and religiously brave. He was in manner, association, and feeling, courtly and chivalrous. He was always equal to the danger--great on great occasions. His unswerving loyalty and patriotism were ever conspicuous and of the loftiest character. All who appreciated his military genius regretted, when the war of the rebellion began, that Scott was not as he had been at the period of his Mexican victories. He had not the popularity of several of his successors among the soldiers. He was too stately and too exacting in his discipline--that power which Carnot calls "the glory of the soldier and the strength of armies. It was to these characteristics that Scott owed his title of " Fuss and Feathers," the only nickname ever applied to him. Physically he was " framed in the prodigality of nature." Not even Washington possessed so majestic a presence. As Suwarrow was the smallest and physically the most insignificant looking, so was Scott the most imposing of all the illustrious soldiers of the 19th century, possibly of all the centuries. The steel engraving represents him at upward of threescore and ten. The rignette is from a painting by Ingham, taken at the age of thirty-seven. A portrait by Weir, showing Scott as he was at the close of the Mexican war, is in the United States military academy. The statue by Henry K Brown stands in Scott circle, Washington. General Scott was the author of a pamphlet against the use of intoxicating liquors (Philadelphia, 1821) ; " General Regulations for the Army" (1825); "Letter to the Secretary o£ War " (New York, 1827); "Infantry Tactics," translated from the French (3 vols., 1835): " Letter on the Slavery Question" (1843); "Abstract of Infantry Tactics" (Philadelphia, 1861); "Memoirs of Lieutenant-General Scott, written by Himself" (2 vols., New York, 1864). Biographies of him have been published by Edward Deering Marts-field (New York, 1846); Joel Tyler Headley (1852) ; and Orville James Victor (1861). See also "Campaign of General Scott in the Valley of Mexico," by Lieutenant Raphael Semmes (Cincinnati, 1852).--His son-in-law, Henry Lee, soldier, born in New Berne, North Carolina, 3 October, 1814; died in New York city, 6 January, 1886, was graduated at the United States military academy in 1833, and entered the 4th infantry as 2d lieutenant. After three years' service in the Gulf states he took part in the war against the Seminoles, and in 1837-'8 was engaged in removing Cherokees to the west, after which, until 1840, he served with his regiment as adjutant. In 1842 he was appointed aide-de-camp to General Winfield Scott, whose daughter, Cornelia, he had married, and accompanied him to Mexico in the capacity o£ chief of staff. He attained the rank of captain on 16 February, 1847, and for his gallantry in the siege of Vera Cruz, the battles of Cerro Gordo and Churubusco, and the capture of the city of Mexico, received the brevets of major and lieutenant-colonel. After the war he was acting judge-advocate of the eastern division in 1848-'50, and senior aide-de-camp to General Scott from 1850 till 1861. He had been made lieutenant-colonel on the staff on 7 March, 1855, was promoted colonel on 14 May, 1861, and was inspector-general in command of the forces in New York city until 30 October, 1861, when he was retired. Colonel Scott took no part in the civil war, but was accused of disloyalty to the National cause in having communicated important military information to the enemy before Washington while on a visit to his father-in-law, General Scott. He tendered his resignation on 31 October, 1862, but it was not accepted until four years later. He was the author of "A Military Dictionary" (New York, 1861).

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