This Day in History… August 20, 1794

Battle of Fallen Timbers 

U.S. #680 pictures the Anthony Wayne Memorial in Maumee, Ohio.

On August 20, 1794, General “Mad Anthony” Wayne led American troops to victory at the Battle of Fallen Timbers.

When the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783, there were no Native American representatives at the negotiations. So, they were left out of consideration when Britain ceded the Northwest Territory to the U.S.

Around 1790, different Native American nations formed an alliance against the United States (with some of the British soldiers still in the area) to defend their lands – called the Western Confederacy. At first, the Western Confederacy defeated the U.S. forces that fought against them, which began to worry President George Washington.

U.S. #837 pictures the Colonization of the West statue, located in Marietta, Ohio.

As the threat worsened, Washington commissioned General Anthony Wayne to lead an army to deal with the Western Confederacy. This brilliant tactician had earned the name “Mad Anthony” Wayne through his acts of reckless courage during the Revolutionary War.

After studying the results of previous battles, Wayne discovered the U.S. failure was likely due to poor training and leadership. Wayne put together and trained his army, and on August 20, 1794, they faced the Native American leader “Little Turtle” and his ally “Blue Jacket.”

U.S. #814 – William Henry Harrison received a commendation for his role in the battle.

Wayne had recruited and trained 5,000 soldiers, and also found Choctaw and Chickasaw Native Americans to act as scouts. At the Battle of Fallen Timbers, the Western Confederacy was outnumbered, and Wayne’s victory came quickly. When the Western Confederacy fled, they hoped the British at Fort Miami would protect them. But unlike other British commanders who had supported the Native American cause, William Campbell at Fort Miami didn’t want to start a war with the United States, so he refused to help the Western Confederacy.

U.S. #3856 – William Clark also participated in the battle.

In Europe, John Jay had been trying to negotiate a treaty to convince the British to abandon their forts in the Northwest Territory completely. Wayne’s victory helped move the treaty along. A year after the Battle of Fallen Timbers, Wayne and “Little Turtle” signed the Treaty of Greenville, handing over the Ohio Territory to the United States. Wayne had succeeded in putting an end to Native American hostilities toward white settlers.

Click here to view the National Park website dedicated to this battlefield and its history.

Click here to see what else happened on This Day in History.

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