Battle of Fallen Timbers
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The Battle of Fallen Timbers (August 20, 1794) was the final battle of the Northwest Indian War, a struggle between Native American tribes affiliated with the Western Confederacy and a British-Canadian militia company, against the United States for control of the Northwest Territory. The battle took place amid trees toppled by a tornado just north of the Maumee River in northwestern Ohio at the site of the present-day city of Maumee. Gen. "Mad" Anthony Wayne's Legion of the United States along with Gen. Charles Scott's Kentucky Militia were victorious against a combined Native American force of Shawnee under Blue Jacket, Miami under Little Turtle, and numerous others. The battle ended major hostilities in the region. This resulted in British and Indian withdrawal from the southern Great Lakes, western Ohio and northeastern Indiana following the Treaty of Greenville and Jay's Treaty.
|Battle of Fallen Timbers|
|Part of the Northwest Indian War|
An 1896 depiction of the battle from Harper's Magazine
|Commanders and leaders|
Chief Little Turtle (Miami)|
Chief Blue Jacket (Shawnee)
Chief Buckongahelas (Delaware)
(including native scouts)
(including 1 British affiliated militia company)
|Casualties and losses|
Major Gen. "Mad" Anthony Wayne, commissioned by President George Washington to bring U.S. sovereignty to the western frontier, commanded about 2,000 men, with Joseph Bartholomew, Choctaw and Chickasaw men serving as his scouts. Wayne's army was buttressed by about 1000 mounted Kentucky militiamen under Gen Charles Scott. Wayne's Legion arrived in the Maumee River Valley in Aug. 1794, where he constructed Fort Defiance and Fort Deposit in preparation for the battle.
Blue Jacket took a defensive position along the Maumee River, not far from present-day Toledo, Ohio, where a stand of trees (the "fallen timbers") had been blown down by a recent storm. The Native American forces, numbering about 1,500, were composed of Blue Jacket's Shawnees, Buckongahelas's Delawares, Miamis led by Little Turtle, Wyandots led by Roundhead (Wyandot), Ojibwas, Ottawas led by Turkey Foot, Potawatomis, Mingos, and a British company of Canadian militiamen under Captain Alexander McKillop.
The battle lasted less than an hour. Wayne's soldiers closed and pressed the attack with a bayonet charge. His cavalry outflanked Blue Jacket's warriors, who were easily routed. The Indian warriors fled towards Fort Miami but were surprised to find the gates closed against them. Major William Campbell, the British commander of the fort, refused to assist them, unwilling to start a war with the United States. Wayne's army had won a decisive victory.
Wayne's army had lost 33 men and had about 100 wounded. They reported that they had found 30-40 dead warriors. Alexander McKee of the British Indian Department reported that the Indian confederacy lost 19 warriors killed, including Chief Turkey Foot of the Ottawa. Six white men fighting on the Native American side were also killed, and Chiefs Egushaway and Little Otter of the Ottawa were wounded.
Wayne's army encamped for three days in sight of Fort Miamis, under command of British Major William Campbell. When Major Campbell asked the meaning of the encampment, Wayne replied that the answer had already been given by the sound of their muskets and the retreat of the Indians.:350 General Wayne rode up to Fort Miamis by himself and slowly conducted an inspection of the fort's exterior walls. The British garrison debated whether or not to engage the General, but in the absence of orders and being already at war with France, Major Campbell declined to fire the first shot at the United States.:350-351 The Legion, meanwhile, destroyed Indian villages and crops in the region of Fort Deposit, and burned Alexander McKee's trading post within sight of Fort Miamis before withdrawing.:351
After withdrawing from the area, Wayne marched his army unopposed to the Miami capital of Kekionga in what is today northeastern Indiana and constructed Fort Wayne a defiant symbol of U.S. sovereignty in the heart of Indian Territory. That Winter, Wayne also reinforced his line of defensive forts with Fort St. Marys, Fort Loramie, and Fort Piqua.
The Northwest would remain largely peaceful until the 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe. Tecumseh, a young Shawnee veteran of Fallen Timbers who refused to sign the Greenville Treaty, would renew American Indian resistance in the years ahead.
On September 14, 1929, the United States Post Office Department issued a stamp commemorating the 135th anniversary of the Battle of Fallen Timbers. The post office issued a series of stamps referred to as the 'Two Cent Reds' by collectors, issued to commemorate the 150th Anniversaries of the many events that occurred during the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783) and to honor those who were there.
For 200 years, the site of the Battle of Fallen Timbers was thought to be on the floodplain on the banks of the Maumee River, based upon documentation such as the map above and to the right (location of Fallen Timbers Monument). Dr. G. Michael Pratt, an anthropologist and faculty member at Heidelberg University (Ohio), correctly surmised the battlefield was 1/4 mile above the floodplain after considering documentation that described a ravine. The City of Toledo owned the area which was desirable for development. Although the City of Toledo initially refused archaeological exploration, in 1995 and 2001, Pratt was able to conduct archaeological surveys, which relied primarily on metal detection, which revealed musket balls, pieces of muskets, uniform buttons and a bayonet, confirming that major fighting had taken place at the site.
Because of Pratt's archaeological work and advocacy the Fallen Timbers Preservation Commission, the land was granted National Historic Site status in 1999. A federal grant allowed the Metroparks of the Toledo Area to purchase the land where the artifacts were found in 2001, and the site was developed into a park in affiliation with the National Park Service.
Fallen Timbers State MonumentEdit
The Ohio Historical Society maintains a small park at the site originally believed to have the main fighting (similar historic picture above and right). This site features the Battle of Fallen Timbers Monument, honoring both Major General Anthony Wayne and his army and Little Turtle and his warriors. Additionally, there are plaques describing the Battle of Fallen Timbers and honoring the several Indian tribes that participated. The main monument has tributes inscribed on each of its four sides honoring in turn, Wayne, the fallen soldiers, Little Turtle, and his Indian warriors. The park is located near Maumee in Lucas County. Turkey Foot Rock, marking the death place of Turkey Foot, is also at the site.
- St. Clair's Defeat, the battle the U.S. lost that led to this
- Gaff, Bayonets in the Wilderness, p. 327, gives the claim of 30–40 bodies found as well as McKee's figure of 19 killed. Sugden, p. 180 mentions 6 whites killed, giving a minimum of 25 dead.
- Loosing, Benson (1868). The Pictorial Field-Book of the War of 1812. Harper & Brothers, Publishers. p. 55.
- Pratt, G. Michael (1995). "The Battle of Fallen Timbers: An Eyewitness Perspective". Northwest Ohio Quarterly. 67: 5.
- Gaff, p. 327
- Sugden, p.180
- Hogeland, William (2017). Autumn of the Black Snake. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 9780374107345. LCCN 2016052193.
- Wood, 2009, pp. 130–133
- Pratt, G. Michael (2004). "Remote Sensing Surveys at the Fallen Timbers Battlefield National Historic Site" (PDF). Ohio Valley Historical Archaeology. 18. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
- Keller, Christine; Boyd, Colleen; Groover, Mark; Hill, Mark (2011). "2011 Archaeology of the Battles of Fort Recovery, Mercer County, Ohio: Education and Protection". Retrieved June 4, 2016. Cite journal requires
- Library of Congress (2000). "Fallen Timbers Battlefield". Local Legacies. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
- "The Battlefield [Fallen Timbers] Today". Metroparks Pamphlet. Archived from the original on June 10, 2016. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
- Vezner, Tad. "Change Bears Down on Historic Battlefield". The Blade. Toledo Blade. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
- "Turkey Foot Rock". The Historical Marker Database. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
- "FALLEN TIMBERS BATTLEFIELD AND FORT MIAMIS NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE General Management Plan May 2006" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
- Gaff, Alan D. (2004). Bayonets in the Wilderness: Anthony Wayne's Legion in the Old Northwest. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-3585-4.
- Sudgen, John. Blue Jacket: Warrior of the Shawnees. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 2000.
- Sword, Wiley (2003) . President Washington's Indian War: The Struggle for the Old Northwest, 1790-1795. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-2488-9.
- Winkler, John F. (2013). Fallen Timbers 1794: The US Army’s first victory. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-1-7809-6377-8.
- Wood, Gordon S. (2009). Empire of Liberty. Oxford University Press.
- Battle of Fallen Timbers – Chickasaw.TV
- Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis National Historic Site from National Park Service
- The Fallen Timbers battlefield today
- Maumee Valley Heritage Corridor
- Ohio History Central
- Captain Moses Porter's Company of Artillery of the 3rd Sub-Legion
- Battle of Fallen Timbers – The Toledo Metroparks