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Battle of Fallen Timbers
Part of the Northwest Indian War
Fallen timbers.jpg
An 1896 depiction of the battle from Harper's Magazine
Date August 20, 1794
Location in present-day Maumee, Ohio near present-day Toledo, Ohio
Result Decisive United States victory
Belligerents
United States
Legion of the United States consisting of:
1st Sub-Legion:
3d Infantry Regiment
2nd Sub-Legion:
U.S. 1st Infantry Regiment
3rd Sub-Legion:
Captain Moses Porter's Company of Artillery of the 3rd Sub-Legion
4th Sub-Legion:
U.S. 4th Infantry Regiment
Kentucky Volunteers
Blue Jacket's confederacy
Delaware
Shawnee
Mingo
Wyandot
Miami
Ottawa
Ojibwa
Potawatomi
Canadian volunteers
Commanders
Anthony Wayne Blue Jacket
Buckongahelas
Strength
3,000 1,500
Casualties and losses
33 killed
100 wounded
19-40 killed[1]

The Battle of Fallen Timbers (August 20, 1794) was the final battle of the Northwest Indian War, a struggle between American Indian tribes affiliated with the Western Confederacy and the United States for control of the Northwest Territory (an area bounded on the south by the Ohio River, on the west by the Mississippi River, and on the northeast by the Great Lakes). The battle, which was a decisive victory for the United States, ended major hostilities in the region until Tecumseh's War and the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811.

Contents

Background

The Western Confederacy—one of the strongest Native American alliances to date—had achieved major victories over the United States in 1790 and 1791, alarming the administration of President George Washington. In 1792, Washington called upon Revolutionary War veteran General "Mad Anthony" Wayne to build and command a new army. Wayne believed the previous expeditions against the Indians had failed because of the poor training and discipline, and he began rigorous preparations.

Wayne had time to train his new army, as peace negotiations were undertaken in the summer of 1793. The Americans sought to confirm possession of the lands north of the Ohio River they had claimed from Great Britain after victory in the American Revolutionary War. American settlers were already moving into the Ohio territory.

However, Shawnee war chief Blue Jacket and Delaware (Lenape) leader Buckongahelas, encouraged by their recent victories over United States troops and the hope of continued British support, pressed for the Ohio River boundary line established with Britain by the Treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768. They rejected the subsequent treaties that ceded lands north of the Ohio River to the United States. A faction led by the influential Mohawk leader Joseph Brant attempted to negotiate a compromise, but Blue Jacket and his allies would accept nothing less than an Ohio River boundary, which the United States refused.

Battle

Wayne's new army, the Legion of the United States, marched north from Fort Washington (Cincinnati, Ohio) in 1793, building a line of forts along the way. Wayne commanded more than 4,600 men, with some Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians serving as scouts.

Blue Jacket's army took a defensive stand along the Maumee River (in present-day Maumee, Ohio and not far from present-day Toledo, Ohio), where a stand of trees ("fallen timbers") had been blown down by a tornado or heavy storm. They reckoned that the trees would hinder the advance of the army, if they came. Nearby was Fort Miami, a British outpost from which the Indian confederacy received provisions. The Indian army, about 1,500 strong, consisted of Blue Jacket's Shawnees and Buckongahelas's Delawares, Miamis led by Little Turtle, Wyandots, Ojibwas, Ottawas, Potawatomis, Mingos, and even some Canadian militia.

The battle did not last long. Not only were the Indians greatly outnumbered—many were getting provisions from the fort when the battle began—they were also outflanked by American cavalry. The Indians were quickly routed, and fell back to Fort Miami, only to find the gates closed. The British commander, not authorized to start a war with the Americans, refused to give shelter to the fleeing Indians. The American troops destroyed Indian villages and crops in the area, and then withdrew. Thirty-three of Wayne's men were killed and 100 were wounded. The victorious Americans claimed to have found 30-40 enemy dead on the field. According to Alexander McKee of the British Indian Department, the Indian confederacy had 19 men killed.[1] McKee's figure may or may not include the casualties of a group of Canadian volunteers under Captain Alexander McKillop, who fought alongside the Indians.

Battle of Fallen Timbers, commemorative issue of 1929, 2c

Battles Never Forgotten

On September 14th, 1929 the US Post office issued a stamp commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Fallen Timbers. The post office issued a series of stamps affectionately referred to as the 'Two Cent Reds' by collectors, issued to commemorate the 150th Anniversaries of the many events that occurred during the American Revolution and to honor those who were there.

Aftermath

The defeat of the Indians led to the signing of the Treaty of Greenville in 1795, which ceded much of present-day Ohio to the United States. Before withdrawing from the area Wayne began the construction of a line of forts along the Maumee, from its mouth at present day Toledo to its origins in present day Indiana. After Wayne had returned to his home in western Pennsylvania the last of these forts was named Fort Wayne in his honor. Its location is the site of the present day city. Behind this line of forts european ancestry Americans settled the Ohio country paving the way for the creation of Ohio state in 1803. One veteran of Fallen Timbers who did not sign the Greenville treaty was a young Shawnee war leader named Tecumseh, who would renew Indian resistance in the years ahead.

Fallen Timbers

The Ohio Historical Society maintains a small park near the battle site that features a monument honoring Major General Anthony Wayne, and other monuments to the soldiers and Native Americans who died in the battle. The park is located near Maumee, Ohio in Lucas County.

Notes

  1. ^ a b Gaff, Bayonets in the Wilderness, p. 327, gives the claim of 30-40 bodies found as well as McKee's figure of 19 killed

See also

References

  • Sudgen, John. Blue Jacket: Warrior of the Shawnees. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 2000.
  • Sword, Wiley. President Washington's Indian War: The Struggle for the Old Northwest, 1790-1795. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1985.
  • Gaff, Allan D. Bayonets in the Wilderness: Anthony Wayne’s Legion in the Old Northwest. University of Oklahoma Press, May 2004, ISBN 0806135859, ISBN 978-0806135854

External links

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