General Winfield Scott followed John Wool (1836-1837) and William Lindsay (1837-1838) as commander of Federal troops in the Cherokee nation. Scott arrived at New Echota, Cherokee Nation on April 16, 1838 and assumed command of the "Army of the Cherokee Nation."
Following the orders of President Andrew Jackson and his successor Martin Van Buren, Scott began the forcible removal of the Cherokees from their native land to the Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River. Scott divided the Cherokee Nation into three military districts: the Eastern District - commanded by Brigadier-General Abraham Eustis, the Western District - commanded by Colonel William Lindsay, and the Middle District - commanded by Brigadier-General Walker Keith Armistead. Within weeks, every Cherokee in Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama had been captured and held at collection points or killed, with the exception of a few who escaped.
Prior to his appointment over the removal of the Cherokees, Scott's life and career positioned him as the most capable man for the job, in the opinion of President Martin Van Buren. Scott, born near Petersburg, Va., attended William & Mary where he studied law. Scott left after one year, deciding to become a soldier rather than a lawyer. Scott rose to the rank of Colonel during the War of 1812. Scott was also involved in several Indian wars - the Black Hawk War, the Second Seminole War, and the Second Creek War.
"Scott began the forcible removal of the Cherokees from their native land..."