Talk:Battle of Bad Axe

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Good article Battle of Bad Axe has been listed as one of the Warfare good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
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Date Process Result
May 12, 2009 Good article nominee Listed
Did You Know A fact from this article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "Did you know?" column on October 28, 2007.
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This article is misleading and needs a lot more information to be complete. The casualty estimates for the Indian side are very conservative based on what I found. This was more a massacre than it was a battle. I have found a few sources which might help out here.([1], [2]) There it at least needs to be mentioned of how the battle played out, it wasn't just warriors that were killed. It would seem that the previous Indian Creek massacre may have been used for justification. ([3]). IvoShandor 07:34, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

No responses, I am assuming there will be no protests if this article is moved to Bad Axe massacre. If the events at Spafford Farm and Buffalo Grove are massacres so is this "battle" at the Bad Axe River. IvoShandor 08:22, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
2nd - as it now reads, the "battle" can't be called anything but a massacre. Of course if the facts cited are wrong... but I'd trust the text more than the Title.
Also it might be reasonable to put a geographic reference in here, e.g. latitude and longitude so that a map can be found easily. From Bad Axe River I finally found
  • Satellite image from Google Maps Lat. and Long. should be in here somewhere.
Can't find Helena, Wisconsin anywhere. Maybe the reference to "present day Helena" is a bit out-dated. Smallbones 21:28, 23 October 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps, just remove the present day? IvoShandor 21:32, 23 October 2007 (UTC)
Seems it still exists, see: [4]

IvoShandor 21:35, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

OK - it's the one in Iowa County, Wisconsin. But existence is relative (at least in this case). It's right across the river from Spring Green, Wisconsin. The much larger Spring Green has a pop of 1,500. I'd switch it to Spring Green. Smallbones 21:51, 23 October 2007 (UTC)
I am okay with whatever non-main authors find clearer, change away. IvoShandor 21:54, 23 October 2007 (UTC)
I started an article about Helena, Wisconsin and I hope it helps. maybe I am crazy for doing it. Thank you- RFD 21:52, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Red Mound and Retreat, Wisconsin in Vernon County, Wisconsin[edit]

I started articles about Red Mound, Wisconsin and Retreat, Wisconsin in Vernon County, Wisconsin in case you need them. Thank you- RFD 15:05, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

Excellent, I will see where they fit in. This article, the main article and the Battle of Stillman's Run are the three our collaboration will attempt to get FA status for, on the way to a broader featured topic.IvoShandor 04:18, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

If this was a "massacre" it was only due to the military ineptness of the Indians. These savages seem only to have had success when they attacked unexpectedly and in overwhelming numbers. I'm sick and tired of seeing Indians portrayed as victims. These people had no one but themselves to blame for their fate.

Daver852 (talk) 19:47, 18 February 2009 (UTC)daver852


  • I am finally finishing a copyedit I started a while ago. Since Ivo is on a wikibreak, I will leave these comments here.
  1. I think it would be useful to put a caption on the photo in the Infobox.
  2. Prelude: Based on what Ivo told me (see here) I moved Neapope's speech earlier in the night and clarified the timing of the militia that night and the following week in the paragraphs following.
  3. Battle - I added a sentence that Blackhawk's band was almost certainly not involved in the Indian Creek Massacre, which the troops on the steamboat Warrior referred to when first opening fire on them.
  4. Context - I put the statements by Street (day after the battle) and Grimsley (2005) in chronological order. Some of Grimsley's quotes about the blood making the Mississippi red might be effective in the Battle section.
  5. Aftermath - I added Blackhawk's autobiography and death and made a few other copyedits

Will finish this tomorrow, Ruhrfisch ><>°° 04:43, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

  • Finished the last two sections just now, done with my copyedits - looks good, Ruhrfisch ><>°° 02:58, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
Now I see this, ha. Hmm. I am thinking of adding the quote you recommend here and expanding a bit on the military movements of both sides in the battle section. Any thoughts on what else to do for an FA bid? IvoShandor (talk) 01:26, 27 November 2007 (UTC)


This can barely be known as such. Such reckless killing should be called a massacre. This is why I believe that the article should be changed to "Massacre of Bad Axe." —Preceding unsigned comment added by Trilobite12 (talkcontribs) 00:07, March 5, 2008

  • Thanks, while I agree it was a massacre, the name it is known by in reliable sources is Battle of Bad Axe. Do you have reliable sources that call it "Massacre of Bad Axe"? Ruhrfisch ><>°° 00:20, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
  • I wouldn't mind seeing it changed myself, WP has a habit of affecting how other outlets refer to incidents. At quick glance, I see that as early as 1903 published book authors were referring to it as "the Massacre of Bad Axe", and more recently I see that the Wisconsin Historical Society does the same. I think it's enough to call for a WP vote. Sherurcij (Speaker for the Dead) 01:10, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
    • Does anyone want to start an RFC on the name change? On Google books, searching for the words Massacre Bad Axe gets 611 hits, while the exact phrase "Battle of Bad Axe" gets 617 hits, and "Bad Axe Massacre" gets 40 hits, but the Massacre books tend to be newer. I would support changing the name to Bad Axe Massacre. Ruhrfisch ><>°° 03:24, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
  • As the primary author of most Wikipedia's content related to the Black Hawk War, I too would support the name change. The wonton murder that occurred at the mouth of the Bad Axe River can be accurately described in no other way. While many sources refer to it as a battle, just as many, some dating back to shortly after the conflict, have called it a massacre (this is briefly discussed within the article). IvoShandor (talk) 06:04, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
It's been a month with five straight voices in favour of the change, I went ahead and changed it. Sherurcij (Speaker for the Dead) 06:21, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
I wonder if Bad Axe Massacre would be a bit better? IvoShandor (talk) 06:25, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
I think it sounds better and nice to see you back. Thanks too to Sherurcij for making the move. Ruhrfisch ><>°° 00:06, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
Not a problem, moved to the newer name. To be honest, I'd never heard of this until I came across the 1832 article sitting in my hands one day, and checked Wiki to find out what this "Bad Axe" was, and added the detail about the child. Sherurcij (Speaker for the Dead) 00:20, 5 April 2008 (UTC)


As requested, here are some comments on looking at the article with an eye to FAC. This looks pretty good and these are all pretty nitpicky. I also ran the semi-automated peer review script on it and it is below:

The following suggestions were generated by a semi-automatic javascript program, and might not be applicable for the article in question.

  • Watch for redundancies that make the article too wordy instead of being crisp and concise. (You may wish to try Tony1's redundancy exercises.)
    • Vague terms of size often are unnecessary and redundant - “some”, “a variety/number/majority of”, “several”, “a few”, “many”, “any”, and “all”. For example, “All pigs are pink, so we thought of a number of ways to turn them green.”
  • Please ensure that the article has gone through a thorough copyediting so that it exemplifies some of Wikipedia's best work. See also User:Tony1/How to satisfy Criterion 1a.[?]

You may wish to browse through User:AndyZ/Suggestions for further ideas. Thanks, Ruhrfisch ><>°° 02:19, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

  • Lead still starts with "The Battle of Bad Axe, also known as the Bad Axe Massacre, occurred ...", since the title has been changed, this should be too, perhaps "The Bad Axe Massacre, also known as the Battle of Bad Axe, occurred ..."
  • Date linkiing is now deprecated and the dates will be delinked at FAC if they are not delinked before
  • I'll get someone to assist with a js tool.--IvoShandor (talk) 04:04, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
  • I would say "Mississippi River" here and link it - not everyone around the world will know just Mississippi is the river in The militia caught up with them on the eastern bank of the Mississippi ....
  • "... a few miles downstream from the mouth of the Bad Axe River" Any chance to be more exact and then also provide kilometers?
  • Background - why did it take 14 years between the treaty and vacating the tribal lands? Is this worth a breif explanation?
  • Added to it, should be clearer now.--IvoShandor (talk) 04:04, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
  • My preference is not to go to FAC with any red links in the article - just me though
  • I would make it clearer at the start of Prelude that they are stilll on the battlefield just after the Battle of Wisconsin Heights - it is less than clear now
  • Not quite sure how to make this clearer, I mentioned it once more, take a look, lemme know if this is clear or not.--IvoShandor (talk) 04:04, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Need to explain who Dodge and Henry are in set out to join Henry Dodge and James D. Henry to regroup and resupply at Fort Blue Mounds
  • Tried to qualify them as "militia commanders", could be more specific with "militia generals" or some such thing.--IvoShandor (talk) 04:15, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
  • In Battle, perhaps clarify which river in While some of the band managed to escape across the river that afternoon ... (M or BA?)
  • I owuld make it clearer the woman killed was holding her child in including one young woman estimated to be 19 years old; she was shot through her child's upper arm as she stood watching the battle
  • Tried to clarify this.--IvoShandor (talk) 04:15, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Mile is linked - this is a common term. Watch for overlinking of common terms to be a problem in FAC
  • In Aftermath I would link Winfield Scott at the first instance in As well as the combat casualties of the war, a relief force under General Winfield Scott ...

Hope this helps, Ruhrfisch ><>°° 02:19, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

  • Of course it helps! Thanks Ruhr.--IvoShandor (talk) 04:15, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Bad Axe Massacre/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

GA review of this version:
Pn = paragraph nSn = sentence n

GA review (see here for criteria)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS):
    • First day, P3, S5: Who is White Cloud? He's first mentioned here without any context. Was he a leader? Was he Sauk, Fox, or from another group?
    • Check. Should be clear now.--IvoShandor (talk) 06:37, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
    • Second day, P2, S2: Closing in here is a little unclear. Maybe enclosing or encircling would work a little better.
    • Check. I went a bit of a different direction, I think it works though.--IvoShandor (talk) 06:37, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
    • Second day, P2, S3: Unless the U.S./militia forces had aircraft capable of strafing, a different word needs to be used here.
    • They had A-10 Warthogs . . . I keed, I keed. I just thought the term applied to gunfire from boats or ships too, I changed it to "peppered".--IvoShandor (talk) 06:37, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
    • Prelude, P2, S3: the phrase though militarily devastating for the British Band needs a citation
    • I think the citation [1], which leads to this article covers that. I used the term devastating because I couldn't think of a less wordy way to summarize the following:

    The slaughter on the eastern bank of the river continued for eight hours. The soldiers shot at anyone--man, woman, or child--who ran for cover or tried to swim across the river. They shot women who were swimming with children on their backs; they shot wounded swimmers who were almost certain to drown anyway. Other women and children were killed as they tried to surrender. The soldiers scalped most of the dead bodies. From the backs of some of the dead, they cut long strips of flesh for razor strops.

    Of the roughly four hundred Native Americans at the battle, most were killed (though many of their bodies were never found), some escaped across the river, and a few were taken prisoner. Of the one-hundred-and-fifty or so who crossed the river on August 1 and 2, moreover, few survived for long. Sioux warriors, acting in support of the army, tracked down most of them within a few weeks. Sixty-eight scalps, many from women, and twenty-two Sauk and Fox prisoners were brought by the Sioux to Joseph M. Street, the federal agent for the Winnebagoes at Prairie du Chien in late August.

    I think that anyone would characterize that as devastating. Thoughts?
    • Yeah, that's a good word, supported by the quote, IMO. — Bellhalla (talk) 20:57, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
    • Second day, P1, S6: Needs a citation for the thoughts of the scouts
    • The link for this note goes to a bill authored by Abraham Lincoln entitled "Bill for an Act to Authorize Samuel Musick to Build a Toll Bridge across Salt Creek in Sangamon County", which does not seem to contain either the quote attributed to Wakefield, or any mention of the Black Hawk War at all.
    • Found the persistent link for that book.--IvoShandor (talk) 07:13, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
    • Comment: I'd strongly recommend reworking the citations into separate "Notes" and "References" section, with all works used listed in the "References" section.
    • I normally don't do this at this level, only for FAC, which I almost never nominate anything for. If it's a huge problem I can do it, but it's time consuming and may be among the last things I address.--IvoShandor (talk) 07:13, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
      • It doesn't affect the GA status; it was just a suggestion. — Bellhalla (talk) 20:57, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
    • I'm not sure that article benefits from having all of the content in the aftermath section. A great deal of it seems to be more relevant for other articles than this one.
      • The article should certainly address the fact that this was the last battle of the Black Hawk War, but the 'world tour' (if you will) of Black Hawk does not seem directly related to this action.
      • Similarly, the discussions of Black Hawk's eponyms seem much better suited to Black Hawk (chief) than here, where little relevance to this action is demonstrated
    • Should be taken care of, I moved some text to the main Black Hawk War article, the rest I just cut because it was relevant to the Black Hawk article and that article already covered it well enough.--IvoShandor (talk) 07:25, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
    • I'm concerned with the use of flee and fled in relation to all of the British Band movements, especially those mentioned in the "Background" and "Prelude" sections. Because of the connotation of "running away" that flee carries, might some of these be better characterized as retreats, a more strategic action?
    • I made a comment concerning this below, any input would be helpful.--IvoShandor (talk) 07:25, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
      • No change needed. The reason for your word choice is sound. — Bellhalla (talk) 20:57, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
    • I'm equally concerned by the repeated use of warrior in relation to the native combatants. I'm not familiar with Sauk and Fox gender roles, but I'm guessing that a more neutral men would be accurate.
    Well, "brave" is actually the term Black Hawk used. "Men" is just too vague because there were both combatants (warriors or braves) and non-combatants (women, children and even elderly men). Thoughts?--IvoShandor (talk) 07:25, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
    • If that's the term they use, then that's not a problem with me. — Bellhalla (talk) 20:57, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
    • Does Black Hawk's autobiography cover the events of the first day, apart from terming it a massacre (as cited in this note)? It would be nice to have his perspective on the events
    Comment below, thoughts appreciated. He was only there for the first day, and I don't want to give one person too much weight but can definitely add some more.--IvoShandor (talk) 07:25, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
    • If it was a conscious decision to not give undue weight, that's fine by me. — Bellhalla (talk) 20:57, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars etc.:
  6. It is illustrated by images, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free images have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
  7. Overall:

I'm placing on hold for seven days to allow the above issues to be addressed. — Bellhalla (talk) 06:12, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

The majority of this shouldn't take long. The stuff you pointed is all pretty simple, I guess the reason I didn't include much from Black Hawk was to avoid bias, but I can add some more stuff from him. There were a number of his band that were not happy he left them on the second day. The reason I chose "flee" was because of the large number of civilians with the band and the fact that by this point all they were trying to do is get back across the river. Perhaps I should be more clear, and word choice isn't a big deal to me, I let people change the title back and forth, as I don't really have much of an opinion. It was bloody, that's good enough for me.
Thanks for the thorough review though, just thought I should clarify a few things. I should also mention that I am in the process of moving and it may take me a few days to get to all of this, as I am quite tired. :-)--IvoShandor (talk) 06:28, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
I am working on some stuff now, because I have some time. So the above about not getting to it may be a lie. Proceed with caution.--IvoShandor (talk) 06:37, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
Also, not a knock on you, but I absolutely hate this format for a GA review. It's confusing and hard to format. Just throwin' that out there, maybe someone who can do something about it will here me screaming inside my head as I try to make comments.--IvoShandor (talk) 06:51, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
It's actually frustrated me so much that I am not going to comment on the items here, and I'll just fix them. If there's an issue I will add it to the bottom of the page here.--IvoShandor (talk) 06:52, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, with all of the "#", ':', and "*" symbols it does get a little messy... But everything looks good, so I'm passing now. Good luck with your unpacking. — Bellhalla (talk) 20:57, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: moved to Battle of Bad Axe. The position arising from the discussion appears to be that while a number of reliable sources consider the battle to have been a massacre, the title "Battle of Bad Axe" is used considerably more often in those sources than "Bad Axe Massacre". The consensus, relying on WP:COMMONNAME, is therefore in favour of a move. Mkativerata (talk) 20:32, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

Bad Axe MassacreBattle of Bad Axe — Per WP:COMMONNAME. This is the name overwhelmingly preferred by reliable sources. —Kevin Myers 01:47, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

This was discussed a couple years ago (in the section above entitled "Battle?"), but with an inadequate survey of the reliable sources and discussion of Wikipedia naming guidelines. Google searches reveal that "Battle of Bad Axe" is preferred to "Bad Axe Massacre" by about 20 to 1. Here's the current breakdown of Google hits:
  • "Battle of Bad Axe": 557,000 Google web hits, 2,590 Google book hits, 223 Google scholar hits
  • "Bad Axe massacre": 31,200 web hits, 123 book hits, 15 scholar hits
  • "Massacre of Bax Axe": 156 web hits, 19 book hits, 5 scholar hits
Additionally, I have the four modern academic books on the Black Hawk War in front of me (by Nichols, Trask, Jung, and Hall). They all use the term "Battle of Bad Axe", not "Bad Axe Massacre". Practically everyone acknowledges that a massacre took place on that day, but the term "Battle of Bad Axe" still predominates by a large margin, and is the title we should use. —Kevin Myers 02:00, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
  • As someone who supported the move to the current title, I did not have access to the modern academic books, and am fine with moving it. Thanks, Ruhrfisch ><>°° 02:54, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
  • The evidence and logic of the proposed move is unassailable, nevertheless I don't see any problem with calling a spade a spade. Mark me neutral Smallbones (talk) 03:13, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose: I used to be neutral on this and I've read Trask and Jung's books, if everyone acknowledges that this "battle" was a massacre I cannot see any reason to move the page. IvoShandor (talk) 05:25, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
Your argument seems a bit muddled. Trask and Jung both use the proper noun "Battle of Bad Axe", and not "Bad Axe Massacre", to describe these events. They do characterize some of what happened as a massacre, but that's not the title they give to the event. You may also want to review WP:COMMONNAME and WP:POVTITLE. —Kevin Myers 06:09, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
I am familiar with both of those pages. There is no way this can neutrally be called a battle anyway. Battles consist of people fighting each other, not being indiscriminately slaughtered. But my opinion is the weight of one person, I will of course abide by consensus. IvoShandor (talk) 06:13, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
I agree with your sentiments, but our opinions on what terms the reliable sources should use are not relevant here. Alas, we cannot overrule the preponderance of reliable sources just because we disagree with them. Your quarrel is really with the reliable sources (like Trask and Jung) who overwhelmingly prefer the term "Battle of Bad Axe", and with the Wikipedia policies that say we must follow the reliable sources. —Kevin Myers 06:27, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
While I also agree this was a massacre, since all four recent books on the Black Hawk War call it the "Battle of Bad Axe", I do not think the naming guidelines here give us any choice but to move it. I also note that the lead could be much clearer that the "battle" was in fact a one-sided "massacre". So the first paragraph of the lead could read something like the following. Ruhrfisch ><>°° 16:43, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
  • The Battle of Bad Axe, also known as the Bad Axe Massacre, occurred 1–2 August 1832, between Sauk (Sac) and Fox Indians and United States Army regulars and militia. This final, one-sided battle of the Black Hawk War, which historians have called a massacre since the 1850s, took place near present-day Victory, Wisconsin in the United States. It marked the end of the war between white settlers and militia in Illinois and Michigan Territory, and the Sauk and Fox tribes under Chief Black Hawk. Over 150 Native Americans were killed, many of them women and children, while US military forces lost 5 dead.
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

A two-day battle?[edit]

Was the Battle of Bad Axe a two-day "battle" or a one-day battle that was preceded by a skirmish the day before? This is more of a semantic issue than a substantive one, and affects only a few sentences and headings. The web article by James Lewis that is currently the predominant source for this article clearly describes it as a one-day battle. He writes: "Before dawn on August 2, the Battle of Bad Axe began." According to Lewis, the "Battle of Bad Axe" is what happened on August 2, and the encounter with the Warrior was a prelude to the "battle". Not every source is so explicit, but a quick Google Books survey suggests to me that other writers usually (but not always) take the same approach. Concur? —Kevin Myers 01:29, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

Do whatever you think needs to be done to improve the article. I will not take issue with it myself but we may want to see what others think.IvoShandor (talk) 05:16, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
I made the map, and have looked at one of the recent books briefly. Other than that what I know of the Black Hawk War comes from reading the articles here. I trust you and the sources you cite. Ruhrfisch ><>°° 17:32, 19 December 2010 (UTC)