Battle of Fallen Timbers

Battle of Fallen Timbers

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Not all of President Washington's problems were confined to creating the mechanisms of a new government or establishing a place for the young republic among the world's powers. With independence secured from Britain, many Americans wanted to push into the alluring western lands, but were wary because of a growing confederation among the native tribes of the region.Two major military setbacks made the American settlers cautious when considering westward expansion:

  • Brig. General Josiah Harmar. A veteran of the War of Independence and the first commander of the U.S. army following peace, Harmar was assigned the task of guarding the Ohio frontier against native uprisings and also against the lesser threat of Canadian squatters. He established Fort Harmar at the site of present-day Marietta, Ohio, but later centered his operations at Fort Washington (Cincinnati).In the fall of 1790, Harmar and a combined force of regular army and volunteers moved northward to quell the threat from the Miami and their allies. In October, the American army was ambushed and thoroughly routed by Little Turtle, on the banks of the Maumee River. This defeat was regarded as a great humiliation for the young nation. Harmar retired shortly thereafter.
  • Major General Arthur St. Clair. Also a veteran of the War for Independence, St. Clair had served in the Continental Congress prior to being named the first governor of the Northwest Territory. In 1791, he led an ill-disciplined American army from Fort Washington northward and was ambushed and defeated near the Wabash River by Blue Jacket, leader of an inferior native force. St. Clair survived, but went into retirement the following year.

At this point, Washington turned to General "Mad Anthony" Wayne, a man with a truly distinguished record of service in the Revolutionary War. He had fought with Benedict Arnold in the Quebec campaign, stormed Stony Point in New York (earning the name "Mad Anthony" for his bravery), narrowly averted disaster at the hand of Cornwallis in Virginia, and was in the thick of extremely bitter fighting in South Carolina and Georgia, in 1782. The President recalled him to active service in 1792.Wayne devoted months to the thorough training of his soldiers. This careful preparation was noted by Little Turtle, who recommended to his confederates that a peace agreement be sought. Blue Jacket, a Shawnee, opposed that suggestion and emerged as the war leader of the confederacy. In July 1794, Wayne's army moved out of Greenville (present-day western Ohio near the Indiana border), a force of 2,000 regulars, known as the Legion of the United States, and 1,500 volunteers.The encounter took place on August 20, in an area where a recent storm had brought down many trees, hence the name "fallen timbers." The native confederacy numbered in excess of 1,000 and was composed of Shawnee, Mingo, Delaware, Wyandot, Miami, Ottawa, Chippewa, and Pottawatomie warriors.The U.S. forces used their superior numbers and arms to advantage, forcing a disorganized retreat on the Native Americans. The fleeing tribes sought refuge with the British at Fort Miami, but the gates there remained closed.U.S. losses at Fallen Timbers amounted to 30 killed and about 100 wounded. Native losses were difficult to determine because of their practice of quickly removing their casualties from the field. Estimates of 200 killed and 400-500 wounded are commonly accepted.Although some resistance continued into the following year, a large measure of peace was secured in 1795 in the conclusion of the Treaty of Greenville, the direct result of the American victory at Fallen Timbers.The exact location of the battle was the subject of speculation until 1995 when Professor G. Michael Pratt of Heidelberg College determined that it was about a quarter mile from the previously accepted location. 187 acres considered to be a key portion of the battlefield site was acquired by Metroparks of the Toledo area.

See Indian Wars Time Table.

Fallen Timbers

After the February 1862 Union victories at Forts Henry and Donelson, Gen. Don Carlos Buell's army occupied Nashville while Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's army penetrated to Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River. Buell and Grant planned to attack the rail center of Corinth, Mississippi, but on April 6, Confederate Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston struck first. The Battle of Shiloh was a near Confederate victory the first day, although Johnston was killed. On the second day, Grant's counterattack succeeded, and the Confederates retreated to Corinth. Shiloh was the war's bloodiest battle to date, with almost 24,000 killed, wounded, or missing.

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On April 8, 1862, Union Gen. William T. Sherman led a reconnaissance force from the Shiloh battlefield to see if the Confederate army had actually withdrawn. Here, six miles southwest of Pittsburg Landing, he described the ground before you, from right to left, as "a clear field, through which the road passed," then immediately beyond "some 200 yards of fallen timber," followed by "an extensive camp" occupied by Confederate Col. Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry. Sherman ordered two companies of skirmishers forward.

The 350 Confederate cavalrymen protected a field hospital on the ridge north of the road, beyond the drainage to your left. Forrest

immediately ordered an attack. His charge overran the Union infantry struggling through the fallen timber, forcing them, along with Sherman, to seek safety behind the infantry brigade drawn up on your right.

The Confederates killed and wounded 40 Federals and captured an equal number before being hit by a thunderous volley that emptied several saddles. In front of his troopers and close to the Union line, Forrest suffered a severe bullet wound in the lower back. He remained mounted and fought his way clear with his pistol and saber, then retreated west with his command.

Sherman captured the hospital and sent the 4th Illinois Cavalry another mile west along Ridge Road, where the Confederate rear guard blocked further advance. Satisfied that the Confederate army was in full retreat to its base at Corinth, Mississippi, Sherman led his troops back to their camps on the battlefield. The Battle of Shiloh was over.

(bottom center) Gen. William T. Sherman Gen. Nathan B. Forrest Courtesy Library of Congress
(top right) The wounded Col. Nathan Bedford Forrest fights his way out of the Federal encirclement at Fallen Timbers - Courtesy of artist Dan Nance

Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.

Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil

. In addition, it is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is February 1862.

Location. 35° 6.192′ N, 88° 23.618′ W. Marker is near Shiloh, Tennessee, in McNairy County. Marker is on Harrison Road half a mile west of Joe Dillon Road, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Michie TN 38357, United States of America. Touch for directions.

Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Johnston's Last Bivouac (approx. one mile away) Stephens' Brigade (approx. 1.1 miles away) Russell's Brigade (approx. 1.2 miles away) Cleburne's (2d) Brigade (approx. 2.1 miles away) 3rd Mississippi Infantry Battalion (approx. 2.2 miles away) Battle of Shiloh (approx. 2.3 miles away) 25th Missouri Infantry (approx. 2.3 miles away) 7th Arkansas and 2d Arkansas (approx. 2.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Shiloh.


Axelrod, Alan. Chronicle of the Indian Wars: From Colonial Times to Wounded Knee. New York: Prentice-Hall, 1993.

DeRegnaucourt, Tony. The Archaeology of Camp Stillwater: Wayne's March to Fallen Timbers, July 28, 1794. Arcanum, OH: Upper Miami Valley Archaeological Research Museum, 1995.

Knopf, Richard C., editor and transcriber. Anthony Wayne, a Name in Arms: Soldier, Diplomat, Defender of Expansion Westward of a Nation The Wayne-Knox-Pickering-McHenry Correspondence. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1975.

Nelson, Paul David. Anthony Wayne, Soldier of the Early Republic. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1985.

Slaughter, Thomas. The Whiskey Rebellion: Frontier Epilogue to the American Revolution. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.

Fallen Timbers

By Matthew Seelinger, Chief Historian In the days of the early Republic, the U.S. Army suffered some of its most devastating defeats in its history. While the Continental Army of the War for Independence fared well against the European style of tactics employed by the British redcoats, particularly later in the war, the Indian warriors &hellip

About The Army Historical Foundation

The Army Historical Foundation is the designated official fundraising organization for the National Museum of the United States Army. We were established in 1983 as a member-based, charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We seek to educate future Americans to fully appreciate the sacrifices that generations of American Soldiers have made to safeguard the freedoms of this Nation. Our funding helps to acquire and conserve Army historical art and artifacts, support Army history educational programs, research, and publication of historical materials on the American Soldier, and provide support and counsel to private and governmental organizations committed to the same goals.


The United States legion emerged with around 140 casualties while Northwest Indians got more damage with few of the warriors injured, killed and run away, including those who contributed to the leadership at a greater extent. Since Wayne got to know that Fort Miami British Companions were not supporting the Indian allies, he ordered his men to surround and torch the nearby crops and villages to find the warriors. The devastation served as a brutal and painful lesson to the entire group of confederation member tribes.

Fallen Timbers Battlefield Walk Brings History Out Of The Woods

Frank Butwin portrays Gen. Anthony Wayne (center) and is joined by Tim Iten and John Stephens, members of his unit. MIRROR PHOTOS BY KAREN GERHARDINGER Carol Kimbrough and Rodney Delap listen as Earl Evans portrays Jacob Dickert, a gun maker whose work was found on the site of the Fallen Timbers Battlefied. Evans used those artifacts to create a replica of the rifle used during the 1794 battle. That rifle is being raffled off with tickets at $20.00 each. Jamie Oxendine, as Delaware Chief Buckongahelas, prepares to speak to a group on the walk. Dave Westrick is Alexander McKee, an Indian trader who was the British representatives to the tribes. McKee was the son of a Scots-Irish father and Shawnee mother.

BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Bringing together historical interpreters to show the roles of British, American, Native American and French for the August 19 Battlefield Walk was no easy feat.

The afternoon event at the battlefield was just a taste of a year that will include educational events, re-enactments, musical musters and much more.

“The 225th anniversary starts now,” said Julia Wiley, president of the Fallen Timbers Battlefield Preserva-tion Commission (FTBPC), which organized Sunday’s walk with Metroparks Toledo.

“Next year, we’ll have a five-day observation,” added board member Dave Westrick, who was portraying Alexander McKee, an Indian trader and British representative to the tribes.

The Battle of Fallen Timbers, which took place on August 20, 1794, changed the course of history for all involved. Historians and re-enactors worldwide are interested in coming to Maumee for the 225th anniversary.

In addition to a Battlefield Walk, plans also call for Native American groups to share their music, military and musical corps to convene, and a battle re-enactment to take place on the plains along the river.

Jeremy Moore portrays Tom Lyons, a member of the Delaware tribe, who was at the Battle of Fallen Timbers and in the French and Indian War. Moore is a member of the Melungon tribe of Virginia and has been a re-enactor since 2000.

Some of the upcoming events include:

• The Weapons of Fallen Timbers, on Sunday, September 23 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Fallen Timbers Battlefield Visitors Center, 4949 Jerome Rd. Check out the black powder guns, bayonets, swords and tomahawks used during the battle, and watch historical re-enactors stage musket drills and black powder demonstrations in the free event.

• Twilight Hike on the Fallen Timbers Battlefield is on Wednesday, September 26 at 7:00 p.m. The limited, ticketed event is $20.00 and will include an exclusive, guided tour with a few surprises. Reservations may be made through

• Daryl Baldwin, the director of the Myaamia Center at Miami University in Ohio, will speak on Tuesday, October 9, during the FTBPC annual meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium of St. Luke’s Hospital, 5901 Monclova Rd. A citizen of the Miami tribe of Oklahoma, Baldwin grew up in the Anthony Wayne and Maumee areas. He received a MacArthur Award for language and cultural revitalization for revitalizing the Myaamia language. The event is free to FTBPC members and $10.00 in advance or $15.00 at the door for nonmembers.

• Douglas Brinkley, a CNN presidential historian, author, national commentator, professor of history at Rice University and fellow at the James Baker III Institute of Public Policy, will speak on Thursday, April 25. The place and time are to be determined. Brinkley is a Perrysburg native.

6) Subsequently, Wayne and his legion marched for battle along the north side of the Maumee River. A native force of 1,500 men waited in a clearing in order to ambush the legion. This clearing where the subsequent battle took place, came to be known as Fallen Timbers as the land was littered with fallen trees after a tornado.

Before the Battle of Fallen Timbers, the Native Indians held a fast, which they were supposed to break on the morning of August 20. Consequently, on the fateful day of the battle, most of the warriors of the confederation were away gathering food. Moreover, they did not expect the Americans to attack early in the morning. Hence the warriors available were just around 1,000. At the same time, the American Legion was also a fraction of its power due to desertion and hence numbered only around 3,000.

American and Native Interaction:

The American Post-Revolutionary policy towards the Native Americans was a desire to gain the land from Ohio to Mississippi. The Treaty of Paris was interpreted by the Americans to mean that the sovereignty granted by the treaty over the territory eliminated any native claim to the land. The Native Americans of this area lacked any representation at the signing of this treaty, of course. Furthermore, it became apparent to the Americans that the Natives did not recognize the British right to give away Indian lands. With the English leaving the territory, the Natives were in a poor position, for they were left on their own to decide their own individual peace with the United States. This was a complicated issue in the sense that the Native tribes desired a halt to hostilities with the American government however, the frontiersmen had been pushing further west, and they had their eyes set upon the Ohio valley. The desire to settle this area came from the fact the Ohio Valley is a fertile region, which would bring a great deal of wealth to those who could settle it. In general, the territories west of the 13 states were seen as a means to extinguish the Revolutionary War debt[6].

The first steps in acquiring the land came from Congress on October 15, 1783, by James Duane who was the chairman of the committee on Native Affairs. Congress decided that there would be a convention between representatives of native tribes and the United States. The sentiments of the federal government are summarized well in George Washington’s letter to James Duane,

that after a Contest of eight years for Sovereignty of the Country G: Britain has ceded all the Lands of the United States within the limits discribed by the arte of the Provisional Treaty.[2].

The argument by America was that the Natives fought alongside the British in the revolutionary war and lost. Therefore, they could be rightly removed from the lands since the treaty gave the lands to the United states. What followed from this were a series of treaties that dictated further terms to the Natives. The treaties of Fort Stanwix, Fort McIntosh, and Fort Finney pushed the natives into lands west of Pennsylvania. The attitude at the time was that the Natives were not ceding their lands, but America was taking what was rightfully its own territory. The three aforementioned treaties created a great deal of tension between the United States and the Natives due to the attitude and dictated terms. The final treaty, the Treaty of Fort Finney, showed the opposition brewing within the Native Tribes. Only the Shawnee tribe attended the signing of the treaty and Chief Kekewepellethe demonstrated a great deal of resistance to the treaty. He told the American Commissioners, “as it the lands, God gave us this country, we do not understand measuring out our lands, it is all ours.” General Richard Butler, a revolutionary general, responded with “this country belongs to the United States – their blood hath defended it, and will forever protect it”[6].

America went to negotiate with Native tribes under the assumption that their taking of lands was retribution for the Native’s role in the Revolutionary War. The Natives, however, were used to having their fertile parts of their lands bought, not completely taken by European powers. Thus, the American policy created serious opposition from the Native tribes such as Miami, Wyandot, Ojibwa, Ottawa, Potawatomi, Mingo, and Shawnee. By 1786 the Shawnee tribe began showing hostility and, with British assistance, they strove to unite Northwestern tribes. The Western Confederacy was formed between these tribes in response to continued white settlement within the Ohio Valley [5].

The Battle Concludes

The Legion was brought to a halt, reformed and remained in a defensive posture for several hours. No counter-attack by the warriors developed. The army moved to the high ground overlooking the rapids and within sight of Fort Miamis and its garrison. There they made camp. This concluded the Battle of Fallen Timbers. Wayne remained in place not far from Fort Miamis. During the night the Americans burnt the nearby Indian villages to the ground. Colonel Campbell sent a flag of truce to Wayne asking about his intentions. Wayne replied that his intentions should be perfectly clear from the firing of his muskets the day before. However, neither the British nor the Americans were in a position to engage each other and they remained at a stalemate. On August 23, Wayne began withdrawing from the area.

Exact numbers of killed and wounded warriors could not be accurately determined because the Native American's would often remove the dead from battle sites. But it was estimated that some 70 warriors, 2 Canadian militia, and 30 U.S. Legion died during the battle.

Soon after this battle, the native tribes in Ohio sought peace with Americans when they realized that the British could not be counted on for support when it was needed most. The indians discovered that they were merely being used by the British to antagonize the Americans by fomenting hatred and supplying that hatred with weapons.

Watch the video: Fallen Timbers Battlefield Trailer


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