The Battle of Fallen TimbersMilitary Index Page
The Battle of Fallen Timbers tookplace in 1794 , just west of Maumee Ohio. The battle was fought between thetroops of General Anthony Wayne and Native Americans under the leadershipof Chief Little Turtle. Fallen Timbers got its name because it took placein a woodland where the trees had been blown down in a storm. After the battle,a treaty signing took place in Greenville, Ohio. Native Americans ceded approximatelythree-fourths of their Ohio lands to the US Government. Billington, Ray Allen and Martin Ridge. Westward Expansion. 5th ed. New York: Macmillan, 1982. 228.
General Wayne sent word through theforest that on August 17 he would march against the position selected bythe Indians for their defense near Ft. Miami where a tangle of fallentrees afforded excellent protection. This misinformation was broadcast intentionally,because the American commander knew the Indian habit of fasting before abattle. On the appointed day he started forward, but instead of attacking,camped ten miles away. For three days he stayed there, while his starvingenemies waited impatiently. Finally, on August 20, several hundred warriorswandered away to gorge on food provided by the garrison at Ft. Miami.This was the moment chosen for the American attack. The well-trained troopsmoved forward in two columns, one for a frontal attack, the other to poura withering fire into the left flank of the almost 800 warriors who crouchedbehind their jagged barrier. For a few minutes the Indians stood their ground,then broke and fled. The Battle of Fallen Timbers, which had required monthsof preparation, was over in less than two hours.
Wayne's victory was decisive not because he killed his enemies - only fifty Indians were killed - but becausetheir spirit was broken when the British refused to aid them. For in thesupreme test the commander at Ft. Miami dared not risk war with a neutralnation by sending his men to fight at Fallen Timbers. Disheartened by therealization that they must fight alone, the natives crept back to their villageswith word that they must move west, once more, to lands not wantedby the white men. Wayne took advantage of their broken spirit. After destroyinga few villages and building a new fort to guard his conquest - Ft. Wayneat the head of the Maumee - he gathered the scattered chiefs together atFt. Greenville early in 1795 to dictate the terms of the Treaty of Greenville.The Indians surrendered all Ohio except a strip along Lake Erie, a triangleof land in Indiana, and sixteen small spots for trading posts on strategicwater ways. Wayne had broken the power of the northwestern Indians, temporarilysevered their alliance with the British, and cleared a new stretch of territoryfor American expansion."