Winfield Scott

Winfield Scott

Hancock, Winfield Scott, 1824-86, Union general in the American Civil War, b. Montgomery Square, near Norristown, Pa. He served with distinction in the Mexican War and was chief quartermaster on the Pacific coast when the Civil War broke out. Made a brigadier general of volunteers in Sept., 1861, Hancock fought in the Peninsular campaign (1862); in the Antietam campaign he succeeded to the command of a division. His command was heavily engaged in the battles of Fredericksburg (1862) and Chancellorsville (1863). Hancock, commanding the 2d Corps, played a conspicuous role in the Gettysburg campaign. Gen. George G. Meade chose to fight at Gettysburg on Hancock's recommendation, and in the last two days of the battle Hancock was foremost in repulsing the Confederate attacks, particularly General Pickett's charge on July 3, 1863. He was severely wounded. Hancock led the 2d Corps in the Wilderness campaign and in the operations around Petersburg until Nov., 1864, when he left to recruit a new corps. His course as chief of the military department of Louisiana and Texas after the war was characterized by a wise moderation, which was not approved by the radicals in Congress. He was transferred to another command at his own request. The Democratic party nominated him for President in 1880, on his military record. James Garfield defeated him, but with only a slight popular plurality.

See A. Hancock, Reminiscences of Winfield Scott Hancock (1887); biography by G. Tucker (1960).

Schley, Winfield Scott, 1839-1911, American naval officer, b. Frederick co., Md. After serving with Union naval forces in the Civil War, he held various naval posts. In 1884 he commanded the third, and successful, relief expedition to rescue the arctic explorer Adolphus W. Greely. Schley was promoted to the rank of commodore in 1898 and in the Spanish-American War commanded the "flying squadron," ordered to seek out the Spanish under Admiral Pascual Cervera. There was some ill feeling between Schley and William Thomas Sampson, who had been advanced to chief command. When the battle of Santiago was fought and the Spanish fleet destroyed, Sampson was absent and Schley had command, thus giving rise to a bitter controversy over the credit for the victory. Schley was made a rear admiral and resigned from the navy in 1901. A court of inquiry, requested by Schley to investigate charges leveled against him of negligence and misconduct in the battle of Santiago, was generally adverse toward him but recommended that no action be taken. He wrote The Rescue of Greely (with J. R. Soley, 1895) and also memoirs, Forty-five Years under the Flag (1904).
Scott, Winfield, 1786-1866, American general, b. near Petersburg, Va.

Military Career

He briefly attended the College of William and Mary, studied law at Petersburg, and joined the military. At the outbreak of the War of 1812, Scott was made a lieutenant colonel. He was captured at Queenston Heights (Oct., 1812), but after his exchange he returned to the Niagara frontier and led a successful assault of Fort George (May, 1813). He was made a brigadier general in Mar., 1814. The thorough training he gave his troops paid off in July when his brigade bore the brunt of the fighting at Lundy's Lane, where Scott was severely wounded. Scott became a hero and was brevetted major general.

His subsequent army career was long and varied. In 1815-16 he visited Europe, where he studied French army practices. In 1832, President Andrew Jackson dispatched him to Charleston, S.C., where Scott ably handled the potentially explosive nullification troubles. He served in the Seminole and Creek campaigns and in 1838 supervised the removal of the Cherokee to the Indian Territory (now in Oklahoma). His talent for peacemaking was displayed in 1838, when he was sent to the Canadian border in the Caroline Affair, and again in 1839, when he went to Maine during the so-called Aroostook War. In 1841, Scott was appointed supreme commander of the U.S. army.

In the Mexican War, Scott approved the northern campaign of Gen. Zachary Taylor; then Scott himself accepted command of the southern expedition. With the cooperation of the navy, he took Veracruz early in 1847 and began the long march to Mexico City. Cerro Gordo fell in Apr., 1847, and Scott's army entered Puebla, where it remained inactive for several months. In August the Americans resumed their advance. Fighting at Contreras and Churubusco preceded an attack on the outposts of Mexico City. An engagement at Molino del Rey was followed by the storming of Chapultepec, which fell on Sept. 13, 1847, clearing the way to the capital. The campaign was a triumph for Scott's daring strategy and confirmed his reputation as a bold fighter. Scott was now a national hero, but as a Whig he was disliked by the Democratic administration of James K. Polk. As a result Scott was recalled to the United States early in 1848. A court of inquiry, however, dismissed charges leveled at him by some subordinate officers, and he was brevetted a lieutenant general.

In 1852, Scott was chosen as the Whig candidate for president, but he made a poor showing against his Democratic opponent, Franklin Pierce. In 1859, Scott once more took a hand in a boundary disagreement, going to Washington Territory in an effort to settle the San Juan Boundary Dispute. The outbreak of the Civil War brought onerous burdens to the general, who, though a Southerner by birth, opposed secession and was loyal to the Union. He wished some delay before any military action was taken, so that the Union's civilian army could be more adequately trained, and the disastrous first battle of Bull Run, fought against his wishes, bore out his views. Old and in failing health, Scott was compelled to retire on Nov. 1, 1861.


Although vain and pompous (he was called "Old Fuss and Feathers"), Scott was also generous, fair-minded, considerate of his officers, and solicitous for the welfare of his soldiers. In nonmilitary matters—excluding his diplomatic ventures—his tendency to be quarrelsome and his faculty for "putting his foot in it" made him far less successful. However, he is generally considered the greatest American general between Washington and Lee.


See his memoirs (2 vol., 1864); J. S. D. Eisenhower, Agent of Destiny (1998).

Winfield Scott Stratton (July 22, 1848- September 14, 1902) American prospector, capitalist, and philanthropist. He discovered the Independence Lode near Victor, Colorado on July 4, 1891, one of the richest gold mines ever located on earth, and became the Cripple Creek district's first millionaire in 1894.


Born in Jeffersonville, Indiana, Stratton arrived in the Colorado Springs, Colorado area in 1868 and worked as a carpenter. His marriage ended shortly after the wedding when Stratton said that he was not responsible for his wife's pregnancy, and sent her back to her parents. He set out following the gold and silver rushes in Colorado, but had never been successful. On hearing word of gold on the south slope of Pike's Peak he made his big strike on July 4, 1891, near the present town of Victor, Colorado, in the Cripple Creek mining district.

He had a hard time getting started developing his Independence mine, but once going it was like an underground bank. Not only was Stratton rich, he was generous. After the Cripple Creek fire of 1896, Stratton paid for food and shelter for the thousands left homeless by the fire. He wrote a check for $5,000 to “Crazy Bob” Womack, the prospector who first discovered gold at Cripple, but was down on his luck. He gave $15,000 to Horace A. W. Tabor when Tabor was busted. Soon, however, folks began hitting on him and he became reclusive and eccentric. He drank and read a great deal, but almost never had guests or went out socially.

In 1900 Stratton sold the Independence mine to the Venture Corporation of London for $10 million. The Venture Corporation incorporated the property as Stratton's Independence Ltd. and sold shares on the London stock exchange. The ore reserves were discovered to be less than previously thought in late 1900, and the share price crashed. Venture Corporation later sued the Stratton estate, claiming that the mine had been salted, but lost in the US courts.


When he died he left the bulk of his estate for the establishment of the Myron Stratton Home, for "the aged poor and dependent children." Myron Stratton was his father. This bequest was not popular in the reactionary climate of the times. After extended litigation from many adverse claimants (his son, the Venture Corporation, and thirteen women who claimed to have been secretly married to Stratton) only 6 million was finally available; but the home was established successfully in 1913.

Stratton's other legacies include the Colorado Springs & Interurban Railway, a trolley system connecting Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs; the ground on which the current Colorado Springs City Hall stands on; and money to complete the Short Line railroad.

A bronze statue of Stratton by Nellie Walker was placed on the grounds of his estate in 1909. The sculptor of the work ended up living at the Myron Stratton Home for the last years of her life. Another casting of Walker's statue of Stratton stands in downtown Colorado Springs.

Stratton was inducted into the National Mining Hall of Fame.

Places named after Stratton include:

  • Stratton Park in Colorado Springs;
  • Stratton Hall at Colorado School of Mines, completed in 1904, was named after Stratton, who gave the school its first philanthropic gift of $25,000. He had been appointed as a CSM trustee in 1899 and was elected president of the board in 1901.
  • Stratton Spring, a mineral spring drilled in 1920 at the loop where the trolleys turned around in Manitou Springs;
  • Winfield Scott Stratton Post Office in Colorado Springs, named by an act of Congress in 1995; Stratton had sold the land the post office was built on to the federal government at a fraction of its value with the understanding that it would be used for the post office.


Further reading

  • Waters, Frank (1972). Midas of the Rockies. reprint, Chicago: Sage Books.
  • Strickler, David P (1964). The fight for the Stratton millions. Colorado Springs: J.J. Lipsey, Western Books.
  • Sprague, Marshall (1994). The king of Cripple Creek : the life and times of Winfield Scott Stratton, first millionaire from the Cripple Creek gold strike. Colorado Springs: Friends of the Pikes Peak Library District.
  • McKenna, Clara Anne (1998). A golden legacy : Winfield Scott Stratton and the Myron Stratton Home, 1848-1998. Colorado Springs: Myron Stratton Home.

W. S. Stratton carried this book in his saddlebags when he was prospecting:Plattner, Carl Friedrich (1888). Plattner's manual of qualitative and quantitative analysis with the blowpipe. From the last German edition, revised and enlarged. New York: D. Van Nostrand.


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