Scott, Winfield

Scott, Winfield

biographical name


Winfield Scott—Courtesy of the National Archives, Washington, D.C.

(born June 13, 1786, Petersburg, Va., U.S.—died May 29, 1866, West Point, N.Y.) U.S. army officer. He fought in the War of 1812 at the battles of Chippewa and Lundy's Lane (1814). Promoted to major general, he traveled to Europe to study military tactics. He advocated a well-trained and disciplined army, earning the nickname “Old Fuss and Feathers” for his emphasis on military formalities. In 1841 he became commanding general of the U.S. Army. He directed operations during the Mexican War and led the U.S. invasion at Veracruz and the victory at the Battle of Cerro Gordo. He was the Whig Party's nominee in the 1852 presidential election but lost to Franklin Pierce. In 1855 he was promoted to lieutenant general, becoming the first man since George Washington to hold that rank. Scott was still commander in chief of the U.S. Army when the American Civil War broke out in April 1861, but his proposed strategy of splitting the Confederacy—the plan eventually adopted—was ridiculed. Age forced his retirement the following November.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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