Battle of Fallen Timbers

In 1792, President George Washington appointed Anthony Wayne as the commander of the United States Army of the Northwest, currently serving in the Northwest Territory.  The major purpose of this army was to defend American settlers from Indian attack.  Josiah Harmar and Arthur St. Clair had both suffered defeat at the hands of the natives in the previous few years, and Washington hoped that Wayne would prove more successful.  Wayne arrived with additional troops to supplement the Army of the Northwest in May 1793.  He positioned his force at Fort Washington, near Cincinnati.   Wayne had hoped to move against the natives immediately, but small pox and influenza weakened his men too severely.  In October, Wayne finally left the Cincinnati area and headed to Fort Jefferson.  He proceeded six miles to the north of Fort Jefferson and ordered the construction of Fort Greene Ville.  His army remained here for the winter of 1793-1794.  He also had his men build Fort Recovery on the site of St. Clair's Defeat.

Tensions escalated between the Americans and the Indians during the summer of 1794.  On June 30, 1,500 Shawnee Indians, Miami Indians, Delaware Indians, Ottawa Indians, and Ojibwa Indians led by Little Turtle attacked a supply train leaving Fort Recovery for Fort Greene Ville.  In late July, Wayne moved into the heart of Indian territory.  In early August, he had his men construct Fort Defiance to protect his army as well as to serve as a supply depot.  During this time period, Wayne's men also destroyed native villages and crops.  Realizing that the Indians needed to sue for peace, Little Turtle refused to lead the tribes into battle.  The natives removed Little Turtle from command and replaced him with Blue Jacket.   As Wayne moved toward the Maumee River, the Indians prepared to attack him at an area known as Fallen Timbers, so named because a tornado had knocked down many of the trees.  The Indians expected the Americans to arrive on August 19, but the white soldiers did not arrive until the next day.  The natives fasted before the battle to avoid having food in their stomachs.  The likelihood of infection increased if a person was wounded in the stomach and there was food in it.  By August 20, the natives were weak from hunger.  Although the Indians used the fallen trees for cover, Wayne's men quickly drove the Indians from the battlefield.  The Americans had thirty-three men killed and roughly one hundred wounded, while the Indians lost approximately twice that number.  The fight became known as the Battle of Fallen Timbers.  Blue Jacket's followers retreated to Fort Miamis, hoping the English would provide them with protection and assistance against Wayne's army.  The English refused.  Wayne followed the natives to the fort.  Upon his arrival, Wayne ordered the British to evacuate the Northwest Territory.  The English commander refused, and Wayne decided to withdraw to Fort Greene Ville.

For the next year, Wayne stayed at Fort Greene Ville, negotiating a treaty with the Indians.  The natives realized that they were at a serious disadvantage with the Americans, especially because of England's refusal to support the Indians.  On August 3, 1795, the Treaty of Greenville was finally signed.  Representatives from the Miami Indians, the Wyandot Indians, the Shawnee Indians, the Delaware Indians, and several other tribes agreed to move to the northwestern corner of what is present-day Ohio, forsaking their lands south and east of the agreed upon boundary.  Not all Indians concurred with the treaty, and bloodshed continued to dominate the region for the next twenty years as Americans and Indians struggled for control.