Sunday, November 04, 2007


This Day in the History of Serious American Defeats

On this day in 1791, Miami Indian Chief Little Turtle (left) and Shawnee chief (and rumored white Virginian captive) Blue Jacket (right) co-led a powerful (but outnumbered) force of Miami, Wyandot, Iroquois, Shawnee, Delaware, Ojibwa and Potawatomi warriors against about half of the American Army and inflicted the greatest defeat ever suffered by our Army at the hands of North American Indians. Some 623 regulars led by General Arthur St. Clair were killed and 258 wounded on the banks of the Wabash River near present day Fort Wayne, Indiana. In other words, the North American Indians killed about one quarter of America's standing Army, the worst defeat, in percentages of troops available, we've ever suffered. Our troops only managed to kill or wound about 60 Indian braves, so it was a very one sided affair. Nearly all of the 250 camp followers, mainly women, who had chanted "Cowards! Cowards! Cowards!" at the troops as their lines disintegrated, were slaughtered as well. The only good news was that we immediately increased the size of the Army and never suffered such a cataclysmic defeat again, although our defeat in the Philippines in 1942, in absolute numbers, made this one appear minor.
UPDATE: Reader Tony asked if the Columbus Blue Jackets NHL team was named after the chief mentioned above. The Blue Jackets self report that they are named after the history of Columbus, Ohio supplying a lot of soldiers for the Union during the Civil War. Wow. No wonder they suck.



Was the NHL team in Columbus named after the chief? If so, pretty imitative of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Excellent question. I have no idea. I thought it was like white or red socks.
There really is no good news in that story or the history. The only good news would have been if the American Government and white pioneers had shown a little common sense and integrity during the move west instead of greed. Typically they did not and the result was genocide.
There were two incompatable cultures on the continent. The natives didn't have the immunity to diseases the whites did and didn't have a sustained ability to unite to keep from being defeated one tribe at a time. When they did unite, they did better. I recognize their courage, but I'm glad they lost and I live in the United States of America not the Unified Tribes of whatever it would be in alternative reality. Might taking what it can in war is 99% of human history and the 1% is the United States since 1917. I'm not sure about the 'common sense' part. What would you have wanted them to do?

According toi Wikipedia, no connection to the chief.

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