History: American/What Happened at the Battle of Fallen Timbers? term paper 2993

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What Happened at the Battle of Fallen Timbers?

Essay submitted by T. Adair

The Battle of Fallen Timbers started on Wednesday, August 20, 1794. The battle took

place on the lower Maumee River Valley which is the present state of Ohio. Major

General Anthony Wayne was encamped with a military force of 3,700 men, 2,000 of

whom were part of the regular United States Army. The rest were Kentucky mounted

militia. Fighting the Americans were some 2,000 hostile Indians. The Indians were allies

of the British and the British had just recently built Fort Miamis. This fort was deep in

American Territory, and stopped the Americans from further westward expansion. The

tribes facing Wayne and his army were the Miamis, under Chief Little Turtle, the

Shawnees under Blue Jacket and the Pottawawatomies, Ottawas, Chippewas, Saulk,

Fox, and some Iroquios, plus a few British and French Canadians disguised as Indians.

Wayne was not sure how he and his army would fight the Indians. The terrain was very

wooded and hilly. Artillery such as cannons could not be used. It was difficult for the

Americans since they were not accustomed to fighting in the forest. Since cannons

could not be brought easily back into the woods Wayne left cannons at Fort Deposit

and Fort Defiance. Wayne was one of the first in camp to arise on August 20. Everyone

had been waiting for a surprise attack from the Indians for about three days. Most of

the men were tired from not having a good night of rest, they were not ready to fight.

General Wayne insisted that all the soldiers wear all their uniforms. It was very hot and

the soldiers had to wear, a dark blue coat, dark hat, buff breaches, and boots.

At eight o'clock the rain let up and the march began. Wayne sent out the scouts far

ahead to find out what they could about the terrain. Following the scouts was the

advance guard, a select battalion of a Kentucky militia. The main body following the

advance guard was the Legion. They carried muskets equipped with bayonets which

was Wayne's favorite weapon.

About nine o'clock, when almost in sight of Fort Miamis, the Americans approached the

"Fallen Timbers," a place where a tornado had blown down hundreds of large hardwood

trees. The Indians had taken cover in this natural barrier. As the American advance

guard came close the Indians fired a sudden musketry at them. A temporary confusion

occurred. The Americans were not told to fire yet. Then Wayne's senior officer at the

front Brigadier General James Wilkinson yelled to his men to fire.

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