Early in the morning on August 24, 1781, not far from the mouth of he Great Miami River, Colonel Archibald Lochry landed his party of over one hundred men on the northern bank of the Ohio river. Knowing that he was in hostile territory Lochry never-the-less allowed his entire force to go ashore and hunt, cook meat, and cut grass for their horses. One story has it that the prisoners from Colonel Lochry’s militia and George Rogers Clark’s force being held by the war chief Joseph Brant were sent out to hail the colonel ashore, and disappeared again by time he landed. The colonel failed to take any proper precautions against attack. This mistake cost him dearly. Joseph Brant with a force of over one hundred combined Mingo, Shawnee, Delaware, and Wyandot warriors who were concealed in the woods nearby opened fire. Thirty-seven American militiamen were killed very quickly, and sixty-four others were taken captive; many of these being executed after being taken. Colonel Lochry had seated himself on a log and was attempting to negotiate with Joseph Brant when a tomahawk was buried in his skull, and while only moments of life remained in him, his scalp was removed. Joseph Brant lost one man.
General Georges Rogers Clark, a Virginia militia officer, convinced Thomas Jefferson that a strike against the British stronghold at Fort Detroit was necessary, and that he wanted to undertake such a mission. In early August of 1781 a flotilla of Clark’s army left Fort Pitt and began it’s journey down the Ohio River. Clark was angry and had a sense of foreboding about his mission as he had recruited only four hundred volunteers, not nearly as many as he planned for his campaign. He had pleaded with President Reed of Pennsylvania’s Supreme Executive Council to help. In response to this, President Reed had authorized the recruitment of volunteers from Westmoreland County to join Clark. His efforts resulted in only an additional 100 men who were lead by Colonel Archibald Lochry. Clark had moved his men and boats to Wheeling eto wait for Lochry. Due to desertions Clark decided he could wait no longer for Lochry and his men, so he departed. Lochry arrived on August 8th and sent riders to inform Claorly nk that he would catch up to him in a few days. He asked for messages to be left for him.
JOSEPH BRANT: A SECOND CHANCE
In April 1781, Joseph Brant, war chief of the Mohawk, was sent to Fort Detroit from Fort Niagara. He was assigned by his British administrators to work with the western tribes in their efforts to oppose General Clark. The British and Native Americans all had good intelligence of Clark’s expedition against Detroit. At the Wyandot village of Upper Sandusky, warriors were being gathered to stop Clark. Brant, along with Loyalist Indian Agent George Girty, and some thirty warriors lead a vanguard from Sandusky to the mouth of the Great Miami River. A large force of over three hundred warriors was to quickly join him under the command of Captain Alexander McKee, a Loyalist Indian Agent. As George Rogers Clark’s force drew close, Brant had not been joined by McKee and had only thirty warriors on hand. A discouraged and angry Joseph Bant stood in the reeds and watched General Clark’s flotilla pass him unmolested on it’s way to attack Detroit. Brant didn’t know Clark had already decided he had an inferior force and would attack Indian villages in Ohio Country but not Detroit. But the lagging behind Pennsylvania militia colonel sent runners out with messages for General Clark, and Clark did the same for Lochry. Brant’s warriors captured several of these messages, and from this Brant was able to determine that Lochry’s flotilla was soon coming his way. He had now been joined by an additional one hundred warriors , and now had a force large enough to attack Lochy.
BRANT LURES LOCHRY
As mentioned above, the attack on Colonel Lochry by Joseph Brant warrior happened on August 24, 1781, and resulted in 37 Americans being killed and 64 captured. Lochry needed feed for his horses and proper food for his men so he put into shore in hostile territory and was negligent in posting a proper guard. A story circulated that Joseph Brant took some of the captured messengers and put them on the shore to call, waive, and shout to Lochry to come on in and land knowing that were going to meet a certain death.