90 Facts About Winfield Scott


Winfield Scott was an American military commander and political candidate.


Winfield Scott was known as Old Fuss and Feathers for his insistence on proper military etiquette, as well as the Grand Old Man of the Army for his many years of service.


Winfield Scott served with distinction in the Battle of Chippawa, but was badly wounded in the subsequent Battle of Lundy's Lane.


Winfield Scott helped to avert war with Britain, defusing tensions arising from the Patriot War and the Aroostook War.


In 1841, Scott became the Commanding General of the United States Army, beating out his rival Edmund P Gaines for the position.


Winfield Scott then captured Mexico City, after which he maintained order in the Mexican capital and indirectly helped envoy Nicholas Trist negotiate the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which brought an end to the war.


Winfield Scott unsuccessfully sought the Whig presidential nomination three times, in 1840,1844, and 1848.


Winfield Scott finally won it in 1852, when the party was already dying off.


Nonetheless, Winfield Scott remained popular among the public, and in 1855 he received a brevet promotion to the rank of lieutenant general, becoming the first US Army officer to hold that rank since George Washington.


Winfield Scott developed a strategy known as the Anaconda Plan, but retired in late 1861 after Lincoln increasingly relied on General George B McClellan for military advice and leadership.


At the time, the Winfield Scott family resided at Laurel Hill, a plantation near Petersburg, Virginia.


Ann Mason Scott was the daughter of Daniel Mason and Elizabeth Winfield, and Scott's parents chose his maternal grandmother's surname for his first name.


Winfield Scott's father died when Winfield Scott was six years old; his mother did not remarry.


Winfield Scott raised Scott, his older brother James, and their sisters Mary, Rebecca, Elizabeth, and Martha until her death in 1803.


At six feet, five inches tall and 230 pounds, with a hardy constitution, in his prime Winfield Scott was a physically large and imposing figure.


Winfield Scott's education included attendance at schools run by James Hargrave and James Ogilvie.


In 1805, Winfield Scott began attending the College of William and Mary, but he soon left in order to study law in the office of attorney David Robinson.


Winfield Scott was admitted to the bar in 1806, and practiced in Dinwiddie.


Winfield Scott led a detachment that captured eight British sailors who had attempted to land in order to purchase provisions.


Later that year, Winfield Scott attempted to establish a legal practice in South Carolina, but was unable to obtain a law license because he did not meet the state's one-year residency requirement.


Winfield Scott convinced family friend William Branch Giles to help him obtain a commission in the newly expanded army.


In May 1808, shortly before his twenty-second birthday, Winfield Scott was commissioned as a captain in the light artillery.


Winfield Scott was deeply disturbed by what he viewed as the unprofessionalism of the army, which at the time consisted of just 2,700 officers and men.


Winfield Scott soon clashed with his commander, General James Wilkinson, over Wilkinson's refusal to follow the orders of Secretary of War William Eustis to remove troops from an unhealthy bivouac site.


Winfield Scott briefly resigned his commission over his dissatisfaction with Wilkinson, but before his resignation had been accepted, he withdrew it and returned to the army.


In January 1810, Winfield Scott was convicted in a court-martial, partly for making disrespectful comments about Wilkinson's integrity, and partly because of a $50 shortage in the $400 account he had been provided to conduct recruiting duty in Virginia after being commissioned.


The rousing reception Winfield Scott received from his army peers as he began his suspension led him to believe that most officers approved of his anti-Wilkinson comments, at least tacitly; their high opinion of him, coupled with Leigh's counsel to remain in the army, convinced Winfield Scott to resume his military career once his suspension had been served.


Winfield Scott rejoined the army in Baton Rouge, where one of his first duties was to serve as judge advocate in the court-martial of Colonel Thomas Humphrey Cushing.


Winfield Scott led an artillery bombardment that supported an American crossing of the Niagara River, and he took command of American forces at Queenston after Colonel Solomon Van Rensselaer was badly wounded.


Shortly after Winfield Scott took command, a British column under Roger Hale Sheaffe arrived.


Winfield Scott became the chief of staff to Henry Dearborn, who was the senior general of the army and personally led operations against Canada in the area around Lake Ontario.


Winfield Scott was widely praised for his conduct in the battle, although he was personally disappointed that the bulk of the British garrison escaped capture.


In early 1814, Winfield Scott was promoted to brigadier general and was assigned to lead a regiment under Brown.


In mid-1814, Winfield Scott took part in another invasion of Canada, which began with a crossing of the Niagara River under Brown's command.


Winfield Scott was instrumental in the American success at the Battle of Chippawa, which took place on July 5,1814.


Later in July 1814, a scouting expedition led by Winfield Scott was ambushed, beginning the Battle of Lundy's Lane.


Winfield Scott's brigade was decimated after General Gordon Drummond arrived with British reinforcements, and he was placed in the reserve in the second phase of the battle.


Winfield Scott was later badly wounded while seeking a place to commit his reserve forces.


Winfield Scott believed that Brown's decision to refrain from fully committing his strength at the outset of this battle resulted in the destruction of Winfield Scott's brigade and a high number of unnecessary deaths.


Winfield Scott spent the next months convalescing under the supervision of military doctors and physician Philip Syng Physick.


Winfield Scott was promoted to the brevet rank of major general and awarded a Congressional Gold Medal.


In October 1814, Winfield Scott was appointed commander of American forces in Maryland and northern Virginia, taking command in the aftermath of the Burning of Washington.


In 1815, Winfield Scott was admitted to the Pennsylvania Society of the Cincinnati as an honorary member, in recognition of his service in the War of 1812.


Winfield Scott's Society of the Cincinnati insignia, made by silversmiths Thomas Fletcher and Sidney Gardiner of Philadelphia, was a one-of-a-kind, solid gold eagle measuring nearly three inches in height.


Winfield Scott obtained a leave of absence to study warfare in Europe, though to his disappointment, he reached Europe only after Napoleon's final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo.


Winfield Scott made his headquarters in New York City and became an active part of the city's social life.


Winfield Scott earned the nickname "Old Fuss and Feathers" for his insistence on proper military bearing, courtesy, appearance and discipline.


In 1835, Winfield Scott wrote Infantry Tactics, Or, Rules for the Exercise and Maneuvre of the United States Infantry, a three-volume work that served as the standard drill manual for the United States Army until 1855.


Winfield Scott developed a rivalry with Jackson after the latter took offense to a comment Winfield Scott had made at a private dinner in New York, though they later reconciled.


Winfield Scott continued a bitter feud with Gaines that centered over which of them had seniority, as both hoped to eventually succeed the ailing Brown.


Winfield Scott was outraged at the appointment and asked to be relieved of his commission, but he ultimately backed down.


Winfield Scott traveled to Charleston, South Carolina, the center of the nullification movement, where he strengthened federal forts but sought to cultivate public opinion away from secession.


Martin Van Buren, a personal friend of Winfield Scott's, assumed the presidency in 1837, and Van Buren continued Jackson's policy of Indian removal.


In mid-1838, Winfield Scott agreed to Chief John Ross's plan to let the Cherokee lead their own movement west, and he awarded a contract to the Cherokee Council to complete the removal.


Still popular in the area due to his service in the War of 1812, Winfield Scott issued public appeals, asking Americans to refrain from supporting the Canadian rebels.


Winfield Scott was tasked with preventing the conflict from escalating into a war.


Polk and Winfield Scott had never liked one another, and their distrust deepened after Polk became president, partly due to Winfield Scott's affiliation with the Whig Party.


Polk, Secretary of War William L Marcy, and Scott agreed on a strategy in which the US would capture Northern Mexico and then pursue a favorable peace settlement.


Winfield Scott drew up an invasion plan that would begin with a naval assault on the Gulf port of Veracruz and end with the capture of Mexico City.


Mexican resistance collapsed after the capture of El Telegrafo; Santa Anna escaped the battlefield and returned to Mexico City, but Winfield Scott's force captured about 3,000 Mexican soldiers.


Winfield Scott's force arrived in the Valley of Mexico in August 1847, by which time Santa Anna had formed an army of approximately 25,000 men.


News of the defeat at Contreras caused a panic among the rest of Santa Anna's army, and Winfield Scott immediately pressed the attack, beginning the Battle of Churubusco.


Under pressure from some Mexican leaders, and personally feeling that the death penalty was an unjust punishment for some defendants, Winfield Scott spared 20, but the rest were executed.


Santa Anna retreated from the city after the fall of Chapultepec, and Winfield Scott accepted the surrender of the remaining Mexican forces early on the 14th.


Peace negotiations between Trist and the Mexican government resumed, and Winfield Scott did all he could to support the negotiations, ceasing all further offensive operations.


In November 1847, Trist received orders to return to Washington, and Winfield Scott received orders to continue the military campaign against Mexico; Polk had grown frustrated at the slow pace of negotiations.


In late 1847, Winfield Scott arrested Pillow and two other officers after they wrote letters to American newspapers that were critical of Winfield Scott.


Winfield Scott was again a contender for the Whig presidential nomination in the 1848 election.


Congress became engaged in a divisive debate over the status of slavery in the territories, and Winfield Scott joined with Whig leaders Henry Clay and Daniel Webster in advocating for passage of what became known as the Compromise of 1850.


Winfield Scott proved to be a poor candidate who lacked popular appeal, and he suffered the worst defeat in Whig history.


Winfield Scott won just four states and 44 percent of the popular vote, while Pierce won just under 51 percent of the popular vote and a large majority of the electoral vote.


Winfield Scott maintained cordial relations with President Pierce but frequently clashed with Pierce's Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis, over issues like travel expenses.


Winfield Scott was the first US Army officer since George Washington to hold the rank of lieutenant general.


Winfield Scott earned the appellation of the "Grand Old Man of the Army" for his long career.


Winfield Scott reached an agreement with British official James Douglas to reduce military forces on the islands, thereby resolving the so-called "Pig War".


Winfield Scott advised evacuating the forts on the grounds that an attempted re-supply would inflame tensions with the South, and that Confederate shore batteries made re-supply impossible.


Winfield Scott took charge of molding Union military personnel into a cohesive fighting force.


Winfield Scott developed a strategy, later known as the Anaconda Plan, that called for the capture of the Mississippi River and a blockade of Southern ports.


Winfield Scott's plan was leaked to the public, and was derided by most Northern newspapers, which tended to favor an immediate assault on the Confederacy.


McDowell took the brunt of public vituperation for the defeat at Bull Run, but Winfield Scott, who had helped plan the battle, received criticism.


Frustrated with his diminished standing, Winfield Scott submitted his resignation in October 1861.


Winfield Scott grew very heavy in his last years of service, and was unable to mount a horse or walk more than a few paces without stopping to rest.


Winfield Scott was often in ill health, and suffered from gout, dropsy, rheumatism, and vertigo.


In 1864, Scott sent a copy of his newly published memoirs to Ulysses S Grant, who had succeeded Halleck as the lead Union general.


On October 4,1865, Winfield Scott was elected as a Companion of the Pennsylvania Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States and was assigned insignia number 27.


Winfield Scott died at West Point on May 29,1866, two weeks before his 80th birthday.


Winfield Scott holds the record for the greatest length of active service as general in the US Army, as well as the longest tenure as the army's chief officer.


Communities named for Scott include Winfield, Illinois; Winfield, Indiana; Winfield, Iowa; Winfield, Alabama; and Winfield, Tennessee; Fort Scott, Kansas; and Scott Depot and Winfield, West Virginia.


Fort Winfield Scott at the Presidio of San Francisco was part of the coastal defenses of San Francisco Bay from 1861 to 1970, and is a part of the Fort Point National Historic Site.


Winfield Scott is mentioned in "Hour of the Wolf", a Season 6 episode of the Outlander TV series.