Who was Black Hawk?
In many cases Black Hawk (a.k.a. Black Sparrow Hawk) is called "Chief" Black Hawk. This is false information and a false title for the man who was known by his people as 'Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak.' Most historians agree that his title should be more like 'War Captain' or 'War Leader.' If someone calls him "Chief" Black Hawk, it is safe to assume that they know little about him. Black Hawk was most likely born around 1767, but it is hard to prove since the Sauk (Sac) were not handing out birth certificates back then.
Most of his life story is known from his autobiography that was published after the war. Sorry to give away some of the story, but yes, Black Hawk does survive the war. Since he did not have the ability to write his story out in English, he spoke in his Native language to a translator named Antoine LeClair who then transcribed what he said into English prose. It was later edited and published by J.B. Patterson in 1833. If you have never read Black Hawk's autobiography, I recommend you do so if you are interested in this topic.
Black Hawk fought on the side of the British during the War of 1812 and usually preferred the company of the British and Spanish over the Americans. This is why his group was called the "British Band." He did not tour with with the Beatles in the 60's, but he had sided with the British in the past and was assured the British would aid him if he crossed the Mississippi and went to war with the US, which is what he did in 1832. Unfortunately for Black Hawk, it was all talk. Once Black Hawk crossed the Rubicon (metaphorically) a majority of the people who said they would support him turned their back on him when he needed their help the most.
...Not finished yet!
Timeline of the War
1767-About the year Black Hawk was born.
1782-Birth of Brevet Brigadier General Henry Atkinson, the commander of the US forces that were tracking Black Hawk and his "British Band."
1804-Treaty of 1804, also known as the Treaty of St. Louis. This treaty is what the US used to take all of the Sauk and Fox lands on the east bank of the Mississippi (modern NW Illinois and SW Wisconsin). The Sauk and Fox claimed the treaty invalid since the people that signed the treaty had no right to do so or speak for the people as a whole.
1809-The birth of Abraham Lincoln, who later became a young militia Captain in the Black Hawk War.
1812-15-The War of 1812 was being fought in North America and the Sauk and Fox sided with the British because they were promised their land returned from the US government. Black Hawk actively fought against American forces.
1828-The Sauk and Fox were given one year to leave the east bank of the Mississippi.
1829-About 20 white families illegally occupy homes in Saukenuk, the capital of the Sauk and Fox at the mouth of the Rock River on the Mississippi. It is where the modern city of Rock Island, IL is located. Later that year, the Sauk and Fox moved to the Iowa side of the river.
1830-Black Hawk travels to Canada to get a verbal confirmation of British support if he decides to go to war with the US government. Black Hawk also sent emissaries to different indigenous nations to seek support.
1832-April 5 and 6-Black Hawk's band crosses the Mississippi River into Illinois to march towards Saukenuk.
April 8-US troops leave St. Louis and move up the Mississippi towards Black Hawk. They pass Black Hawk and his band without knowing it on the 11th.
April 13-Black Hawk and his people arrive at Saukenuk.
April 24-US messengers were sent to Black Hawk to ask him to return cross the river in peace. He rejects the offer.
April 25-Black Hawk and his people move east along the Rock River.
May 13-The Battle of Stillman's Run. Black Hawk sent a few warriors to negotiate a surrender, but a lack of communication started the first major conflict of the war that ended with a victory for Black Hawk.
May 21-A massacre of white families outside of modern Ottawa, Illinois. Usually referred to as the 'Indian Creek Massacre.'
June 16-The Battle of Pecatonica. Militia soldiers chase and kill a group of 11 warriors. Black Hawk and the main body of his people were many miles north at this time.
July 18-The US forces find Black Hawk's trail south of Hustisford, Wisconsin and starts to follow them west towards the Mississippi River.
July 21-The Battle of Wisconsin Heights. A small band of Black Hawk's warriors hold up US forces near the bank of the Wisconsin River to let many of the non-combatants cross the river to safety.
August 1-Black Hawk's band reach the mouth of the Bad Axe River along the Mississippi. The Sauk tried to cross the river, but a steamboat called the 'Warrior' fired cannon into Black Hawk's people and they were forced to stay on the Wisconsin side of the river.
August 2-The Massacre at Bad Axe. Black Hawk decided to leave the night of the 1st and head toward northern Wisconsin with a small group of supporters. Meanwhile, most of the stragglers decided to cross the Mississippi but were surprised that morning by the presence of US forces. Black Hawk's people were forced towards the river and many men, women, and children were killed trying to cross the river.
Many Dakota warriors that sided with the US were waiting for the Sauk on the other side of the Mississippi and tracked down and killed many of the survivors of Bad Axe.
Black Hawk later surrendered at Prairie du Chien and he was imprisoned at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri.
1838-Black Hawk dies in Iowa.