The Battle of the Wabash

On November 4, 1791, news of the Battle of the Wabash hit Native nations and the U.S. like a thunderclap. The Native victory shocked the United States. Miamis and their allies returned home, having defended their territory for another year. 

Following the Battle of Kiihkayonki the previous year, the United States re-mobilized, hoping to force the Myaamia and their allies to surrender their land near the Ohio River. In this blog post, George Ironstrack narrates the actions of the Miamis and their allies, as well as the American forces, as they prepared and then fought in the muck of the headwaters of the Wabash River in what is now western Ohio.

This battle is best remembered as the largest defeat (by casualty count) that the U.S. military ever suffered at the hands of a Native American force. For the U.S., their defeat initiated a new round of mobilization. Some questioned the morality and practicality of invading Indian Country, while others called for revenge in the wake of their humiliating defeat. 

Key Indigenous leaders included Mihšihkinaahkwa (Little Turtle) of the Myaamia; Blue Jacket of the Shawnee; Buckongahelas of the Delaware; Tarhe of the Wyandot; and Egushawa of the Ottawa. George Ironstrack helps center us on their motivations and actions in the causes, course, and consequences of this important event in Myaamia and American history.

Illustration of a U.S. military member running from a Native person
This image comes from the top of a broadsheet called “The Hero of the Wabash” that mocked General Arthur St. Clair for his handling of the U.S. Army at the Battle of the Wabash in November 1791.

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