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The Battle of Piqua (also Peckowee, Pekowi, Peckuwe, Pickaway and others), was a military engagement fought on Aug. 8, 1780 at the Indian village of Piqua along the Mad River in western Ohio Country between the Kentucky militia under Gen. George Rogers Clark and Shawnee Indians under Chief Black Hoof. The Indians were driven off and the village and surrounding fields burned, but Clark suffered daunting casualties.

Battle of Piqua
Part of the American Revolutionary War
Battle of Piqua 1780 Illustration National Park Service.png
DateAugust 8, 1780
Result American pyrrhic victory
 Great Britain
United States United States
Kentucky Militia of Virginia State Forces
Commanders and leaders
Chief Black Hoof George Rogers Clark
450 Shawnee, Delaware, Wyandot and Mingo warriors 970 militia
Casualties and losses
Unknown (at least five killed) 42 killed
+ 9 killed/wounded prior to battle
+2 DOW after battle
40 wounded
Battle of Piqua Map from National Park Service
Battle of Piqua battlefield park in 2009

Clark's expedition was in response to Bird's invasion of Kentucky earlier that summer by a combined force of Shawnee, Delaware and Miami Indians under British command that killed and captured hundreds of Americans.

The campaignEdit

The battle was part of a campaign in Ohio Country in the Western theater of the American Revolutionary War. Led by General George Rogers Clark, 970 soldiers crossed the Ohio River near present-day Cincinnati in early August 1780 and proceeded up the Little Miami and Mad Rivers. They reached the Shawnee village of Old Chillicothe (north of what is today Xenia, Ohio), which was known then as Chalawgatha to the Shawnee. Clark found it deserted and ordered it burned. He then proceeded a few miles north to the village of Piqua[1] (not to be confused with the modern town of Piqua, Ohio on the Great Miami River) where the Shawnee had retreated. Clark arrived at the village August 8, 1780. The village surrounded a small stockade. Piqua was at that time the capital village of the Shawnee and contained at least 3000 persons.

After several hours of fighting, both sides suffered significant casualties. The Shawnee were driven off when Clark used artillery to bombard the stockade from river cliffs above the village. Clark's men then spent two days burning as much as 500 acres of corn surrounding the village.

Clark reported 27 casualties (14 killed and 13 wounded[2]) to make it seem like a victory, but historians have corrected that number to almost three times that based on eyewitness accounts of survivors. The Shawnee suffered an unknown number dead,[3] but at least five are known killed[4].

This defeat so decimated the Shawnee that rather than rebuild the village, they moved to the Great Miami River where they settled just north of what is today the modern town of Piqua, Ohio and named their village Peckuwe (later anglicized to "Piqua").

The battle, the largest of the war west of the Allegheny Mountains, was one of only a handful of military engagements in Ohio Country during the American Revolutionary War.


A memorial trail and state park, the George Rogers Clark Memorial (39°54′45″N 83°54′30″W / 39.91250°N 83.90833°W / 39.91250; -83.90833) and Tecumseh State Park, was later built on the site of the battle by the Clark County Historical Society.[5][6][7]

An official ceremony was held on the 142nd anniversary to commemorate a monument to George Rogers Clark, an 18 ft. marble statue, as well as the birthplace of Tecumseh. The park was enlarged in 1930 [8] and, on the sesquicentennial celebration of the battle, an historical conference was held at nearby Wittenberg College on October 9, 1930.[9]


  1. ^ about 7 miles west of the modern city of Springfield
  2. ^ George Rogers Clark Papers 1771-1779 p.451-454 account of the battle
  3. ^ likely due to the general tribal custom of immediately removing their dead
  4. ^ Chronicles of Border warfare p.308 footnote reports Indian casualites as 6 killed and three wounded; Clark claimed that 12 to 14 of them were killed see-George Rogers Clark Papers 1771-1779 p.451-454 account of the battle
  5. ^ Mercer, James Kazerta. Ohio Legislative History, 1913–1917. Vol. 5. Columbus, Ohio: F.J. Heer Printing Co., 1918. (pg. 487–488)
  6. ^ Torrey, Raymond H. State Parks and Recreational Uses of State Forests in the United States. National Conference on State Parks, 1926. (pg. 213)
  7. ^ Campen, Richard N. Outdoor Sculpture in Ohio. Chagrin Falls, Ohio: West Summit Press, 1980. ISBN 0-9601356-2-6
  8. ^ Federal Writers' Project. Ohio: The Ohio Guide. Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, 1940. (pg. 502)
  9. ^ Quife, Milo M. "The Ohio Campaigns of 1782." The Mississippi Valley Historical Review. XVII.1 (January 1930): 515.