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.
Labels: American Military Defeats