9. Old, infirmed, or just boys

September 30, 1790     Fort Washington ( site of current city of Cincinnati )

Following the failed treaty of Fort Harmar, the native tribes from the Auglaize River region and Kekionga, the hub of the western confederacy under Little Turtle, stepped up their incursions by driving out more settlers and attacking deeper into Kentucky country.  No traffic on the Ohio River was safe for travel.  Joined by the Shawnee and Delaware, the attacks became a series of outrages which the newly formed American government could no longer tolerate.  Serious action would be taken.  On September 30, 1790, an army moved out of Fort Washington and headed north to attack and destroy as many native villages as they could, with a particular plan to destroy the  tribes gathered at  Kekigona on the  Maumee River.  Here the forces of Little Turtle and his Miami, Buckongahelas and his Delaware, and Blue Jacket and his Shawnee were conducting, along with their allies, an all-out campaign to drive the Whites from their lands.  Lands which the native tribes held from the beginning of their time, and who the Whites now claimed as theirs.

The army was placed under the overall command of General Harmar.  It consisted of 320 regular troops formed into two battalions, and 1,133 Pennsylvanian and Kentucky milita, with Col Hardin overall in command of the militia.  They had in their possession three six-pounder canons.  From the moment they left Fort Washington, warriors kept a watch on them and reported their movements to Little Turtle.  He would plan a proper welcome for them.

“I have awaited this day for some time now.  I am not pleased that my new government has taken this long to take decisive action against these heathens who only this past summer came to close to killing me and my family that they burned my storage sheds and made off with some of my live stock.  My leg still pains me from where a musket ball cut deep into the flesh of my upper leg.  No one can live a life of peace and prosperity with the threat of a tomahawk hanging over his hear, or with the fear that his wife’s hair will wind up on a scalp pole in front of a wigwam.  This is a large force we have gathered here, but there is something that truly worries me. The two battalions of regulars, I think they are from New Jersey, look to be adequate for the job, but the three militia battalions leave much to be desired.  We are not accompanied by very many of our real frontiersman who are experienced Indian fighters and woodsman.  They have paid their way out of this campaign by purchasing the services of other men, most of whom have never seen a battle.  As I look about me I see old men.  I am not content that they will even be able to complete the journey, let alone fight against the warriors of Little Turtle.  Yes, it is true I have a wound, but I am able to overcome my pain and can hold my own in a fight.  I am looking at some men gathered around a cook fire just to the rear of me, and each and every one of them are informed in some way.  I am certain that from the appearance of their weapons that they do not work properly, and one can assume these men cannot even shoot straight.  Then I look down by the creek where some of our militiamen are playing.  Yes, I said playing for they are mere boys.  Colonel Hardin should be ashamed to even risk their lives by bringing them.  The more I look about, the more I am overwhelmed with a foreboding.  I begin to think that I may be fortunate to escape with my scalp in tact.  Oh well, I will trust in the good Lord to watch over us all, and believe me, we are going to need him once we find Little Turtle.”

Jacob Palmer      Settler and frontiersman

2019-10-04T20:21:34+00:00October 4th, 2019|Uncategorized|