Selected Papers From The 1985 And 1986 George Rogers Clark Trans-Appalachian Frontier History Conferences
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George M. Waller
Butler University

"We are involved in actual war!" Washington declared. [1]

1793: ten years after the end of the American Revolution the front still lay along the same line of the Ohio River from Pittsburgh to the Falls. The same outposts still clung precariously in advance of the front at Vincennes and along the Mississippi. Indian war, still supported by the British, continued to take its toll of settlers in Kentucky, the upper Ohio, western Pennsylvania and even aroused fear for upstate New York. In territory granted to the United States by the peace of 1783 the British still held strong points from Lake Champlain to Detroit, Mackinac and the foot of Lake Michigan, as well as trading posts below the Lakes.

To the south, Spain refused to accept the terms of the Treaty of 1783. The Mississippi was closed to navigation by western frontiersmen. Spanish officials sought to detach Indians from United States interests — and even to lure settlers to Spanish territory.

George Rogers Clark had warned, as the Revolutionary War drew to a close, "A peace between us and brittain may not have the Impression on them [the Indians] as is generally supposed. . ." He foresaw continuing conflict with the tribes of the Northwest. He counselled against a suppliant posture, urging negotiation from strength. Treaties won with bribery led chieftains to believe, "they can make war or peace with us at pleasure," and, "in short Every kind of lenity Shewn them by us is Imputed to timedity . . . a war will be the consequence." Clark recommended an immediate showdown — an army of two thousand marched into the heart of their country. Such a convincing threat would bring either, "a final End to the thoughts of a war . . .," or would provide a victory ensuring a lasting treaty. [2]

Governor Benjamin Harrison agreed with Clark's conviction that the United States must deal from strength, "It has ever been my opinion that attacking them in their own country was the only way to keep them quiet and save expense . . . Indians must themselves ask for peace," he continued, otherwise, "Indians will construe our solicitations as proceeding from fear, and become less tractable than heretofore." [3]

It is axiomatic that nations seek to negotiate from a position of strength. Those at the head of the new government understood that as well as the "men of the western waters" as eastern leaders often called them. But the government of the Articles of Confederation had lacked strength to settle problems with Great Britain and Spain or with the western tribes. If this was a critical era for the United States, the following years of President Washington's first administration were an even more genuinely critical period. Western problems were a large part of it — for the West was a national problem. Henry Knox, Secretary at War under the outgoing government of the Articles, reported to Congress the tribes' rejection of United States' rights to the western lands, established by the Treaty of 1783 were an idea for which they, "Expressed the highest disgust . . ." Yet for the United States to enforce its rights by war rather than by purchase or treaty, Knox admitted, "would not be highly estimated in the opinion of the world." More to the point, he confessed, "an extensive Indian war in the present political crisis and with an exhausted treasury, would be an event pregnant with unlimited evil . . ." [4]

Arthur St. Clair, taking office as governor of the Northwest Territory initiated new efforts at a treaty. To Knox he expressed his belief that, "even a hollow peace, if better can not be secured . . ." was preferable to war at this critical time. He admitted that expanding pressure of settlement held little probability, "of there ever being any cordiality between us- . . ." [5] To tribal leaders loath to parley St. Chair asserted himself more firmly, "Brothers, the United States are sincerely desirous of Peace, but if you will have War why you shall have War." [6] Knox hoped for peace, too, but concluded, "if war, make it vigorous and quick . . .," for a protracted war would be destructive to the Republic. [7]

Expressions like these reflected not only the weakness of the nation but divisions between eastern leaders and western settlers. Both agreed, as Knox later put it, "The present partial Indian war is a remnant of the late general war . . ." [8]

A bloody and prolonged struggle ensued — unnamed, unnoticed in general histories and unknown to most Americans now. Yet no single period in frontier history was more decisive in the course of westward expansion according to Ray Allen Billington. These were crisis years. Western issues played a larger part in national policy than has been conceded. [9]

Debate flowed between leading figures — President Washington and his cabinet officers, members of Congress, civil and military authorities in the Old Northwest, and the men of the western waters themselves. The western problem subsumed not only Indian relations but a wide range of other issues: political administration by Congress and territorial government; survey and sale of the new lands; activities of speculators, involving conflicts of interest, and effect on military and diplomatic matters; diplomacy with Great Britain, Spain and France touching on possible alliances, commercial treaties and the threat of national war — linked to problems of the British retention of posts, Spanish control of the Mississippi, and French conspiracies. Western problems also included concern with rash western separationists; plans to inculcate unity through internal improvement projects; and, insistent, military policy.

This last will concern us here. The question of how best to defend the new lands, eliminate the danger besetting existing settlement, and open regions demanded by the land hungry westerners. For some, punishment of the hostiles for past savagery was a strong motive.

Peace between white men and red was highly desirable in the eyes of responsible leaders; it appealed to their sense of humanity and, realistically, recommended itself in light of the country's weakness and lack of funds. But if the tribes would not treat or accept offers to purchase and forego hostilities, how should they be fought — by a regular army, or by volunteer frontier militia, or an army of short term recruits, or by some combination of these?

"The opinion I have ever entertained [is] . . . that no dependence could be in a militia or other troops than those enlisted and embodied for a longer period . . .," stated General Washington early in the Revolution. "Our liberties must of necessity be greatly hazarded if not entirely lost," he went on, "if their defence is left to any but a permanent, standing army . . . " [10] Of short-term militia, an exasperated Washington grumbled, "You may as well attempt to stop the winds from blowing or the sun in its diurnal, as the Regiments from going when their term is expired," a mixed, motley crew, "here today, gone tomorrow." [11]

Of opposing view was Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State. He scorned the conventional wisdom of Federalist veterans of the Revolution. They have, "yet to learn by experience what experience has long ago taught us . . . that rank and file fighting will not do against Indians." With his friends, Tench Coxe and Madison, he feared that the eastern "Phalanx" would adopt measures that prior experience had proved inadequate to realities of Indian fighting. [12]

But it was a matter of principle with Jefferson to observe the separation of powers, to leave military responsibilities to Congress and the Secretary of War. Rather than creating disharmony in the Cabinet he contented himself with plans to promote peace on the frontier by diplomacy. [13]

Henry Knox was closest to Washington personally, his military advice highly regarded. The Secretary of War was a firm proponent of "Regularity." To Knox the use of militia advocated by westerners was, "uncertain, opposed to the principles of regularity and to be adopted only in cases of exigence and to cease the moment the . . . exigencies shall cease." [14]

At the outset of his territorial governorship, Arthur St. Clair outlined the problems of the western country to the President. Kentucky volunteers operating north of the Ohio River in retaliation against savage terror disrupted government of the territory and jeopardized already shaky treaties with the Indians. Admitting that the army was too weak to satisfy the west's need for protection, he nonetheless urged that he be given authority to control all local militia actions. [15]

In reply, Knox told St. Clair that the President was against the harmful effects of desultory militia raids — westerners were to act only by permission of the governor and his-military commander, Brigadier General Josiah Harmar. [16] Winthrop Sargent, Territorial Secretary, added his advice, "if Indians stand and fight," he said, "the Kentucky militia . . . will absolutely take themselves off . . . little dependence can be placed in them." [17]

As it turned out, sufficient regular army forces could neither be recruited nor afforded in the frontier war of Washington's first administration. Commanders were forced to rely on volunteers and short-term recruits to supplement the Regulars. Nor did militia acting alone on the few occasions when they attempted it achieve any lasting success.

Regulars were thought of as trained, disciplined forces, properly equipped and supplied, preferably experienced, and enlisted for extended periods of years. The implication was that they would employ tactics defined in military manuals — a "regular" way of fighting.

Militia were at best irregulars with some training and experience; at worst undisciplined and inexperienced. They provided their own arms and equipment and against Indians were prone to use unconventional, uncoordinated attacks. If ably led they were capable of respectable performance.

Another, third kind of soldiery were units made up of recruits on short term enlistments.

The question of the size and character of a peacetime military establishment was a major problem following the Revolutionary War. Congress and public opinion favored a, "well-regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutured." They feared a standing army — a threat to government and a danger, "to the liberties of a country," as Washington expressed it. Additionally, he believed the nation was "too poor to maintain a standing army adequate to our defense." [18]

In 1783 the Confederation Congress appointed a committee chaired by Alexander Hamilton to study the problem. Washington and other army veterans advocated a compulsory militia enlisting all males between eighteen and fifty, subject to United States government, not state, control. A small regular force would serve to guard arsenals and, as Washington said, "awe the Indians."

A scaled down version provided only for the regular force. Enacted in 1784 it provided for an army of seven hundred, most of that to be employed in guarding the upper Ohio, protecting surveyors running the first range lines, and providing security for agents attempting to conclude Indian treaties. [19]

With inauguration of the new government in 1789 Hamilton was again called on to draw a militia bill. Despite passage of such an act after a delay of three years, the states could not or would not carry out their responsibilities. Although Washington, Knox and Hamilton all agreed that the expense of a large standing army was beyond the means of the new Republic, the alternative, an effective militia, proved elusive. Washington's stipulations, an effective militia, disciplined and well-trained, were not often realized. Under state control with restrictions on when it could be called and where it could be used and for how long, the forces were not in accordance with the President's wishes, nor would Congress reform the system. [20]

Under these circumstances, Washington privately modified his attitude about a standing army. "No man wishes less . . . to see a standing army established," he stated, "but if Congress will not exact (sic) a proper militia law (not such a milk and water thing (sic) as I expect to see if I ever see any) Defense and Garrisons will always require some troops. It has ever been my opinion that a select militia properly trained might supercede the necessity for [regulars] but I despair on that head." [21]

Washington and his administration were sincere in their desires for peace. They aspired to deal justly and humanely, recognizing the tribes as a nation or nations, not as subjects. To do otherwise, "would not be highly estimated in the opinion of the world," Knox informed Congress, nor would it comport with national honor or dignity. [22]

Such protestations of peaceful intent were futile. The native Americans did not consider that loss of their lands just under any circumstances. A Wea spokesman defiantly declared, "We have killed white men, we have stolen their horses, we are now going to steal their cows, and after that we will go and get their women to milk them." [23]

Some government leaders had proposed that western development be delayed — John Jay had suggested as much as thirty years. President Washington's administration could entertain no such solution: "A wall of public opinion," supported the west, noted the Spanish envoy, Gardoqui. [24] The country had to move to protect the western people or they would take matters into their own hands. The President agreed with Knox that sporadic retaliatory raids on the tribes only led to "ultimate consequences" that were unsatisfactory. Regulars devoted specifically to the task would be more economical and more efficient than mere militia and more likely to succeed. [25] The figures made action imperative. An estimated fifteen hundred whites and been killed, wounded or captured in the seven years since the end of the Revolution, shocking barbarities perpetrated along with great loss of property. [26]

Jefferson concluded that war was necessary, telling the President, "As to myself, I hope we shall give the Indians a thorough drubbing." Harking back to George Rogers Clark's advice, he saw such a course, "much the cheapest in the end and would save all the blood which is now spilt . . ." producing "a spirit of peace and friendship between us." [27]

From the Wabash, Major Hamtramck opined, "we will have a good deal of trouble with those villains until they were destroyed. The best treaty," in his opinion, "would be a good flogging." [28] His superior, General Harmar, stated flatly, "All proposals for peace are at an end." The waterways were swarming with Indians — his sources warned of large forces moving to the attack. [29]

Frontier advance was too swift for peaceful accommodation — no amount of talking could convince the Indians to accept American expansion, cede their lands, or adopt civil government and settled, agricultural pursuits. Lacking treaty agreements, the easterners would support war, favoring their own frontiersmen over Indians. They realized, as one hardened veteran put it to James Madison, "the western country is daily growing into greater importance . . . in time it will give law to America . . . ." [30] The infant Republic had to find a way to protect the lands to the westward where the strength and vigor of the United States lay.

Would Regulars or militia be more effective in actions with the Indians? During the period of the Confederation the small regular army was spread thin in posts along the Ohio River. Lacking means to carry the war to the Indians, the Army could hardly deny initiatives of the westerners themselves. Major John Hardin in the Virginia militia responded to the plight of sorely tried Kentuckians in July 1786, leading a force of Kentucky militia against the Shawnee along the lower Wabash. It only increased that tension, although the Confederation Congress viewed it as, "authorized by self preservation," and the inadequacy of the Regulars. [31] It was the first of several expeditions mounted by irate Kentuckians before the new Federal government stepped in.

Better known but equally unproductive was the effort of George Rogers Clark that same year. Responding to an appeal from Vincennes and continued fears of Kentucky, Clark marched with twelve hundred militia. He had wanted a nucleus of Regulars to bolster his untrained men. Governor Patrick Henry asked Congress to authorize it and Harmar directed two companies to aid Clark. The orders came too late and Secretary of War Knox, countermanded the orders anyway. Clark, moving up the Wabash from Vincennes, reached the mouth of the Vermilion River. There half the force mutinied, crying, "Who's for home?" Some two hundred men deserted, straggling back to the Falls in vile disorder, as the commander of Regulars there put it. [32]

These men were not the same breed as Clark had commanded in the Revolution. As Madison pointed out to Washington, farmers were now the ones called to militia duty, men less able to defend themselves — neither woodsmen or fighters. Nor would tactics that had earlier protected Kentucky stations from relatively small bands of roving Indians work in protecting now scattered homesteads or standing up to much larger forces embodied by confederated tribes in the territory, whose fighting ability the United States seriously underrated. [33]

Major Hardin led another Kentucky effort up the Wabash in August 1789, an action, "very mortifying," to the newly established Federal commander at Fort Knox, Major Hamtramck. It was humiliating, "to see the authority of the United States so much insulted." Hardin's advance guard made a premature attack on an Indian encampment that only scattered the enemy. Two hundred men killed just twelve Indians but this provocation jeopardized Vincennes and set back what progress Hamtramck was making in establishing peaceful relations. [34]

General Harmar, commander of the western army, did not lack sympathy for the suffering whites nor did he hold a brief for Indians. He hoped the new government would soon begin to function — to provide the army strength so, "we shall not tamely suffer the subjects of the United States to be murdered by these perfidious savages . . . ." [35]

Harmar's opportunity came in the summer of 1790. An inconclusive treaty negotiated by territorial governor Arthur St. Clair was repudiated by the tribes. The next step was force. Harmar marched September 20 with three hundred twenty federal troops augmented by over eleven hundred Virginia and Pennsylvania militia. Farther west, a second thrust led by doughty five foot five Major Hamtramck was supposed to precede Harmar's departure but was delayed by late arriving Kentucky auxiliaries. This force, about fifty Regulars — all that were fit for duty — and less than three hundred militia, were expected to pin down the Wabash tribes and perhaps draw the Miamis away from Harmar. Hamtramck knew before Harmar marched that the Miamis would not be distracted. They knew of Harmar's march and were massing to oppose him. Hamtramck's feint came to nothing. At the Vermilion he found the villages deserted. Short of food, to march farther meant half-rations. The militia refused despite the exertions of its commander. The force returned to Fort Knox without accomplishment. [36]

Harmar's main force found villages at the Wabash Maumee portage — near present Fort Wayne — deserted. Abandoning standard tactics, Harmar allowed Colonel Hardin to take three hundred of his men and thirty Regulars to scout for warriors. One hundred tribesmen materialized before troops that were in bad order, admittedly untrained, who fled without firing a shot, leaving the Regulars to be cut to pieces. Only seven men and one officer survived. Seventy of the militia's three hundred were killed. [37]

The main force began its return to Fort Washington on October 21, but Hardin again proposed a diversion. Taking four hundred militia, plus sixty Regulars under Major Wyllys, Hardin returned to the Indian villages. The militia hared off after a few fleeing tribesmen. The main hostile force under Little Turtle then attacked the remaining Regulars, killing almost all of them, including the popular Major Wyllys. Returning militia fought with valor, losing an additional fifty men. [38]

In all, a force of over fourteen hundred had been bested by a mere three or four hundred Indians and had lost a total estimated at one hundred eighty to only one hundred Indians killed. It had burned some villages and fields, had cost over $100,000 in extra appropriations, and retreated to the Ohio without gain.

Harmar reported it as a success to the Secretary of War. St. Clair was satisfied it was a successful campaign, although he was highly critical of the militia. A court of inquiry ordered by Congress found Harmar's conduct "irreproachable," and laid blame, as Harmar did, on militia, "which will ever be the case as they are totally unaccustomed to discipline . . ." Nevertheless, Harmar resigned from the army a year later. [39]

Before another major army offensive could be mounted, the Secretary of War reluctantly authorized interim raids by Kentucky's mounted volunteers. Since, as he said, "every appearance indicates an extensive Indian war," the frontier could hardly be left on the defensive; Harmar's forces were depleted and the Indians showed mounting arrogance following their success. [40]

Jefferson, distressed over the "unfortunate issue" of Harmar's campaign, welcomed the idea of, "this year's experiment," to unleash frontiersmen to fight Indians "in the old way." [41] Without waiting for Knox's authorization, Brigadier General Scott descended in May on the Wea villages. Eight hundred mounted Kentuckians killed a score and captured fifty-eight. Westerners jubilantly claimed greater success at less cost in blood and money for this irregular action than from Harmar's effort. Although Washington praised Scott's action in a report to Congress, he and other government leaders ruefully noted in private, "how little confidence the people of [the west] place," in Regular Army plans for another assault. [42]

Later that same summer, Brigadier General James Wilkinson led five hundred mounted men even farther north to the Eel River encampments of the Miami Indians, meeting with even greater success. Anticipating his own forthcoming campaign, St. Clair then ended these desultory raids. Their success would stand in shocking contrast to the outcome of the approaching campaign. The dashing Kentucky generals did not participate in the disaster of that autumn. [43]

Although the Army's weakness after Harmar's defeat had forced the government to turn to the militia, neither the regular officers nor the government leaders saw it as the answer. As Hamtramck warned, burning villages, destroying crops and slaying a few Indians only stiffened Indian resistance. They could live off the land, he pointed out and rebuild their houses, "as a bird does his nest." He thought the Indians' thirst for war and the Kentuckians' preoccupation with vengeance led to, "endless hostility which must then be the result on both sides." [44]

In March 1791, St. Clair, commissioned major general, began preparations. The affair was bungled from start to finish. The general was in poor health throughout the summer and during the campaign. Secretary of War Knox and Treasury Secretary Hamilton had a share in the failure. Their administrative mismanagement resulted in a near total breakdown of supply and transport. The story of their dereliction of official responsibility is too tangled to pursue. Trusting their friend and associate, William Duer, as army contractor, they put their faith in a man whose grave malfeasance is a story that may never be fully unraveled. [45] Further, Washington and Knox later blamed St. Clair for advancing before his force was in readiness, yet they had chafed at the summer's delays — occasioned by slow recruiting and inadequate performance of the contractors — and had themselves ordered St. Clair to march. [47]

It took over a month for the army to go a hundred miles north of Fort Washington. St. Clair started with six hundred Regulars, the same number of militia, and eight hundred "levies" — men enlisted for six months. Desertions were frequent and the enlistments of the short-term men began to run out. St. Clair himself could hardly keep up with his army, "so very ill," said Major Denny, of his staff, "it was supposed he would not be able to proceed." [47]

On November 3 the army camped in unsuitably cramped space on the bank of a tributary of the Wabash. Officers and men were too fatigued to throw up defense works — they planned to strengthen the position in the morning. St. Clair retired hardly able to stand. During the night the presence of Indians was detected but General Butler, second in command, sour and disgusted with his commander from the beginning, failed to alert St. Clair.

The force was up before daybreak. It had just broken ranks after morning parade when the warriors struck. The Army lacked one regiment that had been sent to the rear to protect an expected supply convoy from some sixty to a hundred deserters who had left camp vowing to plunder it. St. Clair had considerably fewer than his original force of two thousand. He estimated the Indian warriors at between five hundred and twelve hundred — it was just over a thousand according to one of the chieftains who fought. [48]

Warriors struck the militia encamped across the stream from the main body first. The troops threw away their guns and fled through the main camp, creating disorder. The army was surrounded and cut to pieces. St. Clair found the strength to rally his men and, with the other officers, directed several charges but they were all thrown back. Realizing, "delay was death," St. Clair and the remnants broke out and fled. Indians broke off pursuit in order to loot. [49]

St. Clair left the field, "the ground literally covered with the dead." In four hours over six hundred Americans had been killed, the worst loss ever inflicted by the Indians — perhaps even greater losses than in battles of the Revolution.

George Washington, enraged, said that he had personally and emphatically warned St. Clair face to face, "beware of surprise, leave not your arms for the moment, and when you halt for the night, be sure to fortify your camp — again and again, General, beware of surprise." [50]

Knox, without acknowledging his own shortcoming, blandly but candidly reported logistic failure and inadequate training of the militia to Congress. Jefferson disagreed with a draft letter Knox prepared assuring St. Clair that he saw no evidence that the general's exertions were lacking. He counseled Washington that reports he had received indicated that an overconfident St. Clair had made no effort to obtain knowledge of Indian movements. Jefferson had also been told that criticism of the general's conduct of the action were being made. [51]

St. Clair insisted to the President that he was not aware that he had neglected anything in his power, maintaining that his health did not affect the campaign. In his Narrative he attributed the "unfortunate outcome" as he put it, with some understatement, to failure of the contractors. He confessed ignorance of disloyalty among his officers, but condemned Congress and recruiters for delays stemming from slow enlistments. While not excusing the behavior of militia and short — term troops — it was nothing more than he expected — he claimed he had not had time to train new recruits. [52]

An alarmed Congress finally moved to enlarge and restructure the army. In March 1792, the army was designated Legion of the United States. Four regiments of infantry, called sub-legions, would be backed by artillery and cavalry units. Staffs were assigned to the Legion, to each regiment, to battalions of which there were three to a regiment, and to companies, four to a battalion. Major General Anthony Wayne became the commander. St. Clair neither wished to continue on active service nor was he desired. He remained territorial governor. [53]

Washington, canvassing his veterans for a new commander, assessed Wayne's capabilities. He was, he noted, "more active and enterprising than judicious and cautious," unlikely to be "economical," vain and too indulgent to officers and men. [54] But he was the Chief Executive's choice although Washington resolved to keep in close touch with him. Through Knox he poured out continual advice. He hoped Wayne's sense of the trust being reposed in him and constant good advice bestowed on him would bring out the best. [55]

Though not hesitating in preparation for war, the President determined to attempt again to conclude a peace. "Our Indian war is very unpopular," wrote St. Clair. The President was not optimistic, he saw, "but a gloomy prospect for peace . . ." On the other hand he refused to be intimidated by the British. Lord Greenville, British foreign minister, in a thinly veiled threat had said, "England could not, with perfect indifference, see a tribe of Indians extirpated . . . without endeavoring in some degree to shelter them . . . ." But Washington declared, "If [Indians] won't listen to the voice of peace, the sword must decide the dispute. Peace and war are now in the balance," he told Knox, urging utmost efforts to support both the peace commissioners and the new Army. [56]

The safety of the peace commissioners and a successful treaty depended on avoiding anything that might arouse tribal suspicion — incursions of whites against the Indians were strictly forbidden and Wayne was ordered to delay construction of any new posts north of Fort Jefferson. [57]

As for the army, it was to be concentrated, not scattered among the various posts. Training as a body was important. Wayne requested a supply of Steuben's Blue Book, which had to be specially printed. Wayne judged the officers in need of this famous tactical manual — older officers were rusty, not to mention conceited and refractory. [58] Washington urged more selective recruiting — enlisting "boys," "improper men," and the "worst miscreants" would only lead to high desertion rates. Adequate supply must be assured. Improved arms and high quality powder were matters of concern. The President ordered improved intelligence gathering. [59]

Washington, Knox and Wayne himself took all the lessons of Harmar's and St. Clair's failures to heart. Wayne moved with deliberation to train his troops, build supply bases and work out tactics. "Another conflict with the savages with raw recruits is to be avoided by all means," Knox wrote.

Peace was not in sight; Indians, "hold us in the utmost contempt for offering to treat . . . with a people who neither want or wish for it . . . ." Wayne heard. [60]

By the end of the next summer 1793, the negotiators at lower Sandusky finally admitted failure. General Benjamin Lincoln heading a commission which also included Colonel Timothy Pickering and former Virginia governor, Beverley Randolph, found a strong Indian confederacy unwilling to make a treaty. Backed by the British, tribal leaders took a firm position against any white advance beyond the Ohio River. [61]

The administration unleashed Wayne. He began his advance in September. At Fort Jefferson he had to halt for another winter. Five hundred Kentuckians deserted from General Scott's volunteers. Contractors admitted their inability to deliver supplies. Smallpox and widespread influenza, "pervaded the whole line in a most alarming and rapid degree . . ." Wayne recorded. In what he knew was a "critical situation of our Infant nation," Wayne could not afford risk. [62]

That winter the army seemed to be dissolving — enlistments expired, the Kentucky mounted men returned home, and discontented officers resigned. [63]

But by the end of July 1794, Wayne began his careful advance anew, building Fort Adams, Fort Defiance, and just before the battle, Fort Deposit.

The tribesmen struck the first blow. Before Wayne began his summer march from Fort Recovery they attacked, on June 30. An estimated fifteen hundred to two thousand warriors struck a cavalry and rifleman escort group and then besieged the fort itself. They were driven off after two days — a more serious set-back than the subsequent battle at Fallen Timbers. [64]

Fifteen hundred mounted men under their Kentucky leaders rejoined Wayne before he marched at the end of July. On the twentieth of August the Battle of Fallen Timbers marked the culmination of almost three years of careful preparation. Advancing toward a brushy area along the Maumee River, Wayne disposed his Legion in two lines with his own cavalry on his right along the river and the mounted Kentuckians on the left flank. Firing as they moved, the first line advanced with fixed bayonets, driving the warriors out of the fallen trees. So impetuous was their charge that the second line never got into action and Scott's cavalry couldn't catch up to cut off the Indian retreat. Nine hundred of the Legion's first line drove an estimated two thousand enemy two miles in an hour. Wayne's force halted only when it came within range of the British fort. Wayne lauded the, "true spirit and anxiety for action" of the mounted troops even though they had not caught up with the action.

A year later in the Treaty of Greenville the Indians ceded more land than earlier treaty efforts had tried for. Concluded with influential chiefs of eleven tribes of the northwest, the treaty's success was underwritten by the strong military presence Wayne had established after his battle. [65]

After five years of failures born of groping measures by Congress and government leaders — to assess the problem, first, and then find means to deal with it — the new Republic was finally strong enough in 1794 and 1795 to achieve military success. And, of course, to conclude diplomatic efforts. Together they crippled Indian resistance and opened the door to western advance.


1John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington. U.S. Government Printing Office, 1939, XXXI, 491.

2James Alton James, ed., George Rogers Clark Papers 1781-1784. Illinois State Historical Library Collections, series IV, vol. 19, Springfield, 1926. II, 236-237, Clark to Governor Benjamin Harrison, Virginia, May 22, 1783.

3Ibid. II, 182, to Clark, January 13, 1783.

4Clarence Edwin Carter, ed., The Territorial Papers of the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, 1934. II, 103-4, May 2, 1788.

5Ibid. II, 119, July 5, 1788.

6Ibid. II, 128, letter to Tawa River and Detroit, July 13, 1788.

7Ibid. II, 165-66. Knox to St. Clair, December 8, 1788.

8Ibid. II, 365, Statement on Causes of the Indian War, January 26, 1792.

9Reginald Horsman, The Frontier in the Formative Years 1783-1815. Holt Rinehart Winston, New York, 1970. VII, XI.

10Washington Writings, VI, 4-5.

11Ibid., VI, 411, 420; VII, 53, 319.

12Julian P. Boyd, ed. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. Princeton University Press, 1971, XIX, 521; 438.

13Ibid., XX, 118.

14Ibid., XIX, 439.

15Carter, ed. Territorial Papers II, 204-212, August 1789.

16Ibid., II, 224-225, December 19, 1789.

17Ibid., II, 300 ff., August 17, 1790.

18Maurice Matlock, genl. ed., American Military History. U.S. Army, Washington D.C., 1969, rev. 1973, 101-102.

19Ibid., 104.

20Ibid., 107-108.

21Washington's Writings, XXXI, 494, February 1792.

22Carter, Territorial Papers II, 103-104, May 1788.

23Gayle Thornbrough, ed. Outpost on the Wabash 1787-1791. Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis. 1957. 166.







30T J Papers, XIX, 431. Adam Stephien, September 12, 1789.

31Journals of the Continental Congress, XXXI, 916-918; Outpost, 14.

32L. C. Halderman, "The Northwest Expedition of George Rogers Clark 1786-1787" Mississippi Valley Historical Review, XXV, 3, December 1938. 325-328.

33T J Papers, XIX, 437, 440, note 32.

34Outpost, 182, 182, note 5, 183.

35Outpost, 137, October 13, 1788.

36Outpost, 236-237, 246, 258-250.

37Smith, ed., St. Clair Papers, I, 168-169.


39Outpost, 269; Carter, ed., Territorial Papers II, 313; Knox Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society, XXVII, 120.

40T J Papers, XX, 108.

41T J Papers, XIX, 521; 465 note 107.

42Ibid., 466, 455, note 111; American State Papers, Indian Affairs, I, 129-135.

43Smith, ed., St. Clair Papers, II, 233-239; T J Papers, 467.

44Smith, ed., St. Clair Papers, II, 197-198.

45Joseph S. Davis, "William Duer Entrepreneur," in Harvard Economic Studies, XVI. Cambridge, Harvard University Press. 1917; T J Papers XIX, 443ff, editorial note.

46Ibid., 464, 468; Syrett, ed., Hamilton Papers, VIII, 127.

47Smith, ed., St. Clair Papers, II 252ff, Major Denny's Diary.

48Ibid., 258-261; Arthur St. Clair, Narrative of the Campaign Against the Indians, Philadelphia. 1812.

49Ibid., 45-71; Smith, ed., St. Clair Papers, II, 258-261.

50North Callahan, Knox, citing report in Alexandria Gazette.

51Carter, ed., Territorial Papers, II, 371ff.

52Carter, ed., Territorial Papers, II, 376; Narrative, 71-78; 54, 184.

53Carter, ed., Territorial Papers, 398. Richard C. Knopf, ed., Anthony Wayne . . . The Wayne-Knox . . . Correspondence, University Pittsburgh Press. 1960. 13.

54Fitzpatrick, Writings, XXXI, 510.

55Ibid., XXXII, 77-78.

56Ibid., XXXII, 114; T J Papers, XX, 114.

57Fitzpatrick, Writings, 102; Carter, Territorial Papers, II, 435; 452-454.

58Knopf, 89.

59Ibid., 63; Carter, Territorial Papers, II, 411; Fitzpatrick Writings, XXXII, 126-127.

60Knopf, 61, 73.

61Massachusetts Historical Society Collections, 3rd series, V, 109-167, General Lincoln's Journal.

62Knopf, 276-282.

63Ibid., 312, 335.

64Ibid., 345-348.

65Ibid., 349-352; Carter, ed., Territorial Papers II, 525.

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