November 6, 1792 Near Fort St. Clair, Western Ohio country
Following the defeat of the Americans by Little Turtle and the Northwest Confederation, in name of the vanquished commander a Fort was established in the autumn of 1792; Fort St. Clair. There now existed four forts; Forts Washington, Hamilton, St. Clair, and Jefferson, all built on a trace through the dense woods, each about 25 miles apart. In that same autumn, Little Turtle had rounded up some warriors with plans of attacking a new settlement at the mouth of the Little Miami River (then called Colombia, Ohio). As they passed near for Hamilton they attacked a garrison of timber gatherers and took some prisoners. From them they learned that approximately one hundred Kentucky riflemen under Major John Adair were leading some pack horses to Fort Jefferson. The Miami war chief prepared an ambush, and a bloody conflict broke out between Little Turtle’s war party and Major Adair and his riflemen. Adair drove the warriors back, but they soon halted and made a stand. So strong was this maneuver on the part of the warriors, that Adair ordered a retreat. Major Adair made it back to his camp and put up a fight. The war party suffered some real losses, but six of the Kentuckians were also killed. The native war party suffered more severely and were driven from the battlefield.
“We had not been expecting this attack. But we rallied from that initial blow and sent these hostiles a’runnin”. But damned if they didn’t turn on us again, and this time they out-maneuvered us for sure. The Major ordered a retreat. Now that we made it back to camp, we was able to put up a real good fight. They come at us with their sharp-shooters, their bows and arrows, and even charged with spears and tomahawks. For a while it looked like it would be the worse for us. We already lost Lieutenant Hall, my friend. Sergeant English got it a few moments ago. Lieutenant Hadle is hit, and I think he’s dying. Four of my close friends, privates in this here militia with whom I’ve lived near and fought alongside of many a time, are laying out before me, the life gone from them. It’ll bee me tellin’ their women and youngin’s what happened. That’s if I make it out of here……….. I think we are starting to get the upper hand, by God. There are more of them falling before our rifles than there is of us. My God, they’re pulling back and leaving. Maybe it’s true that they aren’t as invincible as some believe. Maybe our day is comin’.”
Jacob Palmer, Settler/militiaman