What was the Battle of Fallen timbers?

After the Declaration of Independence by the United States, they thought peace and freedom would finally reign. However, the resistance by the Native Americans put an end to it. Another war ensued, which ended in the Battle of Fallen Timbers. But, what was the Battle of Fallen Timbers all about?

Prelude to the Battle

European countries went to America to broaden their influence and increase their wealth. The Spanish were the first to settle in America. However, by 1650 the Atlantic Coast was dominated by Britain. From 1607 to 1732, Britain established 13 colonies, namely (in order of colonization): 

  1. Virginia 
  2. Massachusetts
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Maryland
  5. Connecticut
  6. Rhode Island
  7. Delaware
  8. North Carolina
  9. South Carolina
  10. New York
  11. New Jersey
  12. Pennsylvania
  13. Georgia

Meanwhile, France started an exploration of America in 1534. By 1720, the French had established colonization of the following:

  1. Canada
  2. Acadia 
  3. Hudson Bay
  4. Newfoundland
  5. Louisiana

The French extended Newfoundland to the Canadian Prairies. Additionally, from the Hudson Bay, they extended it to include the Gulf of Mexico and all the lands of the Great Lakes in North America. The 5 colonies were named New France.

French-Indian War (1754 – 1763)

The cause of the French-Indian War was a territory dispute, specifically, the issue of the ownership of the upper valley of the Ohio River. The British claimed they were the first to explore the area. Therefore, it was theirs and was open for settlement and trade by the British colonies. The French claimed it was part of the French exploration, and they took possession of the area in the name of the King of France; thus, making it part of the French Empire.

The Native Americans sided with the French because they had better relations with the French than the British. Thus, the British named it the French Indian War.

The French Indian War escalated into a war that would last 7 years, known as the 7-year war. Finally, the European war ended with the signing of the peace treaty. Accordingly, the French and the British signed the Treaty of Paris of 1763, wherein France ceded territories of New France to Britain and Spain.

American Revolution (1775 – 1783)

The British ruled over the colonial territories for more than a decade in peace. However, tensions had been developing between the British authorities and the colonists. 

The treaty gave Britain many new territories. But, the cost of the war was financially expensive. The British needed to raise revenue, which consequently led to new tax laws, specifically, the:

The attempt by the British to raise revenue through tax outraged the colonists. They refused the high tax imposed by a Parliament where they had no representation.

The strong resistance by the colonists further led to violence dubbed the Boston Massacre, which killed 5 colonists. Afterward, the colonists retaliated by dumping 342 chests of tea in the Boston Harbor.

Consequently, the British Parliament passed the Coercive Act designed to reaffirm British authority over the colonists. This was the trigger point that subsequently led to the American Revolution.

The war between the British and the colonists lasted 8 years. However, in 1776, the American formed Continental Congress drafted the Declaration of Independence and adopted it on July 4; hence, the 4th of July celebration.

Northwest Indian War

what was the battle of fallen timbers

Despite the 1776 Declaration of Independence by the Americans, it was not until September 1783 that the British formally recognized it. The British and the United States signed the 1783 Treaty of Paris with Britain ceding rights of the Northwest Territory to the United States.

After George Washington became the first U.S. President, he enforced sovereignty using the U.S. Army. However, his attempt failed due to a lack of qualified and trained militia.

Some Native Americans ceded their lands to the United States. But, the Native Americans in the North Ohio River refused to relinquish their ownership, consequently starting the Northwest Indian War.  

Battle Of The Fallen Timbers 

battle of fallen timbers

The Battle of Fallen Timbers did not happen overnight. Centuries of war and territorial disputes eventually led to what was the Battle of Fallen Timbers. 

The Battle of Fallen Timbers was the last stand of the Native Americans to hold on to the Northwest Territory.

After the 1783 Treaty of Paris, Britain ceded their Northwest Territory rights to the United States. However, this made the Natives unhappy. As a result, hostility and violence erupted. 

The United States initially launched two significant attacks on the northwest area. However, both campaigns failed. Consequently, George Washington enlisted General “Mad” Anthony Wayne to lead his army.  

Wayne led the U.S. army north, along the Ohio River. Afterward, he moved his army into native-held territory. Subsequently, they built forts alongside the Miami River. Additionally, he had Fort Recovery built at Mercer County. However, they were stationed at Fort Greeneville during winter.

The Native Americans led by Little Turtle attacked Fort Recovery. Nevertheless, the siege failed; hence, forcing them to retreat. After the attack on Fort Recovery, General Wayne established Fort Adams and Fort Defiance, while simultaneously ravaging Native American villages.

Little Turtle advised the Native confederation to negotiate for peace, but they did not heed the advice. The leadership of Little Turtle was questioned, and Blue Jacket replaced him.

The Native confederation believed they could ambush the U.S. legion, believing they had the backing of their remaining British allies stationed in Fort Miamis. Subsequently, Wayne led his legion along the Maumee River without knowing an ambush awaited them in a clearing.

How the Battle of Fallen Timbers took place

The clearing where the battle was to take place was littered with timber from fallen tornado-ravaged trees. Hence, they named the area Fallen Timbers.

The confederation attacked the U.S. legion and took them by surprise. It was a difficult battle for Wayne’s legion due to the uneven terrain. However, the Natives were no match to the excellent battle strategy of Wayne.

The strategy and discipline of the U.S. Army won them the battle. The confederates sought refuge from their British allies. But, they did not want another war with the United States. So, the British refused to give them entry at Fort Miamis. 

Afterward, Wayne and his army waited and camped near Fort Miamis. However, the British did not want an engagement with the Americans. That being the case, Wayne just torched the area surrounding the Native American villages and their crops before departing for Fort Recovery. The Native Americans did not recover from what was the battle of Fallen Timbers.

After a year, some Native American leaders and General Wayne signed the Treaty of Greenville. Finally, the Northwest Indian War formally ended.

Who Won the Battle of Fallen Timbers?

The American legion led by General Anthony Wayne scored the final victory to what was the Battle of the Fallen Timbers. Wayne lost 33 men with roughly a hundred injured. There was no official record of deaths and injuries on the side of the Native Americans. But they similarly lost a number of warriors and leaders.

Why Was the Battle of Fallen Timbers Important?

The Battle of Fallen Timbers ended the hostilities in the Great Lakes. As a result, the United States secured the Northwest Territory showing the might and strength of the newly formed national government.

What was the Battle of Fallen Timbers’ most significant result? It guaranteed the domination of the United States over the Native Americans.