Battle of Fallen Timbers

Sometimes called the last battle of the Revolutionary War, or “one of the three most important battles in the development of the United States,”
The Battle of Fallen Timbers was fought on August 20th, 1794 by roughly 3500 American troops commanded by Gen. “Mad” Anthony Wayne” and roughly 1,200 Native warriors from at least six confederated tribes (including Shawnee, Delaware, Miami, Potawatomi, Mingo, Chippewa and others) with war chiefs Blue Jacket (Shawnee) and Little Turtle (Miami) present.
The confederated tribes had annihilated two previous US expeditionary forces venturing into their territory northwest of the Ohio, including the worst loss of US soldiers to Native Nations ever – in 1791 – when they killed 623 of General St. Claire’s troops and wounded 258, suffering only 21 deaths and 40 of their own wounded.
This drubbing on the frontier caused the Continental Congress to raise a standing army for the first time since the British surrendered at Yorktown – a development that would have lasting consequences for Native Nations west of the Appalachians and indeed around the globe.
Prior to the decisive battle on the West Bank of the Maumee River, the Native warriors fasted as was their habit for spiritual and physical preparation. But weather and the slow movement of US forces caused a two day delay in the onset of fighting, weakening the Native warriors.
The battle was fought on an area where a tornado had blown down many trees – providing cover and camouflage for the confederated tribes. It was a close contest with dozens killed and wounded on either side. In the end, the Natives retreated. The next year they signed away most of the land that became the state of Ohio, leading to the opening of four other states: Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin to white settlers.
The tribes retained most of northwest Ohio in the Treaty of Greenville (1795) but this treaty too was violated, and most of the confederated tribes were forced into exile from their traditional lands, to Kansas, Oklahoma or Canada in the 1830s.
There are two bands of Natives recognized today in Ohio – Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band in Dayton and Munsee Delaware in Cambridge. But there are no lands reserved or remaining under Native sovereignty in the state. Ohi:yo means “it is beautiful” in Seneca.
But as Chrissie Hynde put it more recently, “Hey, Ho, where’d you go, Ohio?”
Musak fills the air from Seneca to Cuyahoga Falls indeed, and they have built gated communities and giant shopping malls surrounding the battlefield of Fallen Timbers. The only access was by interstate highway. Bicycles were prohibited. I went anyway.


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