Fort Jefferson after St. Ctair’s defeat – part 1


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Friends of Ft. Jefferson

After St. Clair’s defeat the United States army was essentially dismantled. The soldiers abandoned the battlefield leaving cannons, wagons, supplies, tents, blankets, and muskets behind. Over half of St. Clair’s battlefield army were dead or wounded. Most of the army enfistment oDligations were for six months or a year, so the remaining soldiers simply matriculated out. Ft. St. Clair, Ft. Hamilton, and Ft. Washington held small contingencies of men. Ft. Jefferson was the post deepest in Indian territory and was caring for the battlefield injured men until they were either transported out or died from injuries.

Over one hundred able bodied men were left to maintain the 100’x100’ fort. No one knew

when Ft. Jefferson would be attacked, or whether they could even hold the fort. They were short of food, the weather was bad, and winter was setting in. They were eating their last packhorse when new supplies arrived.

Two weeks after the battle, Native American tribes gathered on the Ottawa River to council. Normally, Indian speeches were not recorded, but it is thought that Pennsylvania Loyalist Alexander McKee may have attended and recorded their thoughts.

The principal Ottawa chief, Au-goosh-away, addressed the council. Indian names were spelled phonetically and there are about 100 different ways found in literature on the spelling of this extremely important influential chief. It is said that nothing important happened in Indian affairs, north of the Ohio River, unless it first passed through Au-goosh- away’s hands.

Au-goosh-away opened the council, “Cast your eyes if you can, from this council fire to the Seacoast, many moons march from you! Do you see a single nation of your own color? Do you even see a single town inhabited by redman? Our elder brothers of the United States say they wish to preserve peace with the Indian Tribes. Look how these papers, writings, belts, and messages, have been thrown at you, with threats in a ridiculous manner.”

Au-goosh-away continues. “They invade your country with their warriors! Build forts in it without asking or obtaining your leave. And tell a long story about their having conquered our fathers the English! They tell by conquering our fathers, they have conquered us and that all the lands of every nation of red men between the frozen north and the Ohio River south, and to the Mississippi River belong to them!”

“Brothers of the United States, listen to me. You tell me that you have conquered our fathers the English! That you have conquered me! That you have conquered all the Indian Nations and that you have conquered their and my lands! I tell you brothers what you say, is not true! You never conquered any of us!”

“Brothers, I am a warrior! I am appointed to speak to you. Brothers, I will give you no hostages. Neither shall you have our lands! Unless you come to your senses, these rivers must run red with blood, for we will never submit to be your dogs!”

Part 2 will follow with both the strategies of the Native Americans and United States.

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