Winfield Scott, an American general, born in Petersburg, Va., June 13, 1786, died at West Point, N. Y., May 29, 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, La., in 1809, he was court-martialled for remarks on the conduct of his superior officer, Gen. 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 Lewiston while the affair of Queenstown heights was in progress, he crossed the river, and the field was won under his direction; but it was finally 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 Gen. Dearborn, as adjutant general with the rank of colonel. In the attack on Fort George, May 27, 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 July 3 Scott's and Ripley's brigades, with Hindman'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 (see Chippewa), and on July 25 that of Lundy's Lane, or Bridge-water, near Niagara Falls, in which Scott had two horses killed under him, and was twice severely wounded (see Lundy's Lane). 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 1817 married Miss Mayo of Richmond, Va. A part of his time he now devoted to the elaboration of military manuals. In 1832 he set out with a detachment to take part in the hostilities against the Sacs and Foxes, but the capture of Black Hawk ended the war before Scott's arrival on the 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 a new 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 the question was finally settled by the Ash-burton treaty of 1842. By the death of Gen. Macomb in 1841 Gen. 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 and assembling his force at Lo-bos island, on March 9 he landed 12,000 men and invested Vera Cruz. On the 26th the castle of San Juan de Ulua capitulated, and on the 29th the garrison of 5,000 men grounded their arms outside of the city.
On April 8 Scott advanced toward Jalapa, and on the 18th fought the battle of Cerro Gordo, driving Santa Anna from his strong position in the defile formed by the Rio del Plan, and capturing Jalapa on the 19th, Perote on the 22d, and Puebla May 15, where he remained for reënforcements till Aug. 7. On the 10th his force, numbering 10,748 men, was in front of Mexico. Advancing by the Acapulco road, he was opposed by Gen. Valencia with 7,000 picked men supported by a reserve of 12,000 under Santa Anna, but on Aug. 20 successively carried Con-treras and Churubusco (see Churubusco), and could have taken the capital; but an armistice till Sept. 7 was agreed upon, to allow the peace commissioner, Mr. N. P. Trist, an opportunity to negotiate. At its close operations began on the S. W. avenue of the city, defended by 14,000 Mexicans occupying the wooded and strongly fortified eminence of Chapultepec. On Sept. 8 Gen. Worth with 3,500 men attacked this position, capturing much matériel and more than 800 prisoners, but losing one fourth of his command, including 58 officers. On the 13th Chapultepec was stormed and carried, and on the morning of the 14th Scott's army marched into the city and ran up the United States flag on 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 Gen. 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, was signed on Feb. 2, 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, Gen. Pierce. In 1859 Gen. 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 Oct. 31, 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, where he was buried. - He was the author of a pamphlet against the use of intoxicating liquors (1821); "General Regulations for the Army" (1825); "Letter to the Secretary of War" (1827); "Infantry Tactics," translated from the French (1835); "Letter on the Slavery Question" (1843); and "Memoirs of Lieut. Gen. Scott, written by Himself" (2 vols. 12mo, 1864). Biographies of him have been written by E. D. Mansfield (1846), J. T. Headley (1852), and O. J. Victor (1861). See also "Campaign of Gen. Scott in the Valley of Mexico," by Lieut. Raphael Semmes (1852).