General Scott's Fall
Recently on the Facebook page for this site, I wrote about the very candid news accounts concerning General Winfield Scott's gastrointestinal issues. Today, another look at the hero's health issues. And please remember to share this article to Twitter, FB, etc. by using the buttons at the bottom of the page.
General Winfield Scott, beloved military hero and failed presidential candidate, spent a great deal of time at West Point as he grew older. In September of 1858, Scott, already over 70 years old and still on active duty, was staying at Cozzens' Hotel in what is now Highland Falls. The large hotel was located close to where now stands a McDonalds. Scott's stay this time would be memorable and garner national press. According to the Louisville Daily Courier:
Gen. Scott had a very severe fall on the stairs at Cozzens' Hotel, West Point, last week... Having had a bullet through one shoulder, and a sword thrust through the other arm during his campaigns, he was unable to break the force of the fall by his arms, and his back was severely injured. He cannot move without great pain. He has been cupped and leeched, and is somewhat better, suffers intensely. At his advanced age, and with so ponderous a frame, it is a serious affair to have such a fall, and he is fortunate to escape with life.
Cupped and leeched! The reference to Scott's ponderous frame refers to the General's weight, which at this point was about 300 pounds. Fortunately, Scott recovered. The Tennessean newspaper reported the following:
General Scott has so far recovered from the effects of his recent fall that he is able to move about and transact his ordinary official and private business. Reports from Cozzens' Hotel, West Point, where hs is stopping, state that he suffered intense pain from the bruises he received, but his constitution is yet so good that he recovered in a surprisingly short time, considering his age and the severity of the accident to a man of his large frame. The old General has evidently stamina enough left to be President one term at least before he dies.
Scott retired to West Point in 1861 amidst the turmoil of politics and military disagreements of the early days of the Civil War. Although a Virginian, he remained loyal to the Union. In total, he served 53 years in the Army. Scott died in 1866 and is buried in the West Point Cemetery. I'm sure we'll explore some of his exploits in the future.
"Accident to Gen. Scott," The Louisville Daily Courier, 27 Sep 1858, 1.
"Recovery of Gen. Scott," The Tennessean, 1 Oct 1858, 2.