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Civil War Streets: General Winfield Scott

By Mark Pearson

Again heading north on 10th Avenue, you come to the last street before crossing M25 or Pine Grove Road as it is known by the locals, which is named Scott Avenue. This street is named after the Grand Daddy of all the Civil War Generals, General Winfield Scott. General Scott was born on June 13, 1786, practically before the ink was dry on the US Constitution. He was born on a plantation outside of Petersburg, Virginia. He was the only one of the generals that I have written about that didn’t attend West Point. His army career started when he was interviewed by the then Secretary of War in 1807 and given a commission as captain.

He fought in the War of 1812 where he spent most of that time-fighting battles inside Canada. If any readers spent any time in the Niagara Falls area, they will recognize the name of a place called Lundy’s Lane. He was promoted to Major General as a result of his valor in that battle, which was fought on July 25, 1814. History records this as a bloody battle, and it sure was for him, as he was wounded several times. His wounds were so extensive that he could no longer serve in the field.

After the war, he stayed in the army and went on to participate in several Indian wars as well as the Mexican War. He was involved in one of the dark times that put a blot on our nation’s history. He was ordered to participate in the removal of the Cherokee tribe from the Carolinas and Georgia and escort them to the Oklahoma territory. While he was in command, he tried to protect them from being exploited by unscrupulous individuals. Without going into many details, it will suffice to say that he was not entirely successful. He tried to provide transportation for the young, old, and infirm, but he only escorted them as far as Nashville, Tennessee.

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General Winfield Scott (1786-1866) Photo courtesy of
Wikimedia Commons

The things that were done to Native people during that time is inexcusable and those responsible will have to answer to the supreme judge of the universe. Since I am not that judge, I can only write about it and say that even heroes are human and are capable of doing terrible things. 1838 was the year when these events took place and even though Scott’s intentions were noble, the result was what is now known as “The Trail of Tears.”

By the time the Civil War started, he was still in command of the army with the rank of Lieutenant General. The only other person to hold that rank up to that time was George Washington. Even though he never attended West Point, he was concerned with cadet training and wrote army manuals of instruction to be used there. The strategy seemed to come naturally to him. As a result, he led the campaign that started with the army landing at the Port of Veracruz to the capture of Mexico City and bringing the Mexican War to a close. Even the Duke of Wellington who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo praised him for his achievements.

The overall strategy to defeat the Confederacy called the Anaconda Plan, that was designed to strangle the south and eventually brought an end to the war, was his plan. He advised President Lincoln to pursue his plan, but the prevailing thought was that the war would only last for six months. The first battle of Manassas or Bull Run changed all that, as the northern army was soundly defeated. It is interesting to note that General Scott offered the field command to an army colonel by the name of Robert Edward Lee who he said was the very finest soldier he has ever seen. By this time, Scott was 74 years old. He retired and command of the army was handed over to George B. McClellan. He lived just long enough to see the end of the war. He died on April 29, 1866.


Mark E. Pearson was born and raised in Kansas City, Mo.  In 1970 he moved to Michigan where he met and married the girl of his dreams, Mary Lou Davis, together they have two sons.  He attended Briercrest Bible Institute in Saskatchewan, Canada, and later received his associate’s degree in business from St. Clair Community College.  He was a bookkeeper and worked in retail sales for 30 years and has spent the last fifteen years as a Jeweler at Coughlin’s Jewelers in St Clair, MI.  He is a voracious reader of history and as a result of being an avid reader he began to write short stories and articles for editorial columns and magazines on current events and comparing and relating past events to current happenings.  

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