Squaw Campaign

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In 1778, General Edward Hand, the American military commander at Fort Pitt, decided to punish the Mingo Indians in the Ohio Country for siding with the British. The English had reportedly provided the Mingos with a large amount of weapons and ammunition to attack the Americans. Hand led five hundred militiamen against the Mingos. Simon Girty participated in the campaign as both a guide and interpreter for the Americans. Hand's men failed to locate any natives. Seeing that his men were hungry, tired, and cold, Hand ordered a return to Fort Pitt. On the way back, they came across a small village of Delaware Indians. Among the Delawares were family members of Captain Pipe. The militiamen attacked even though the Delawares were currently at peace with the Americans. The soldiers killed two Indians, including Captain Pipe's brother. Most of the Delawares escaped death because they informed Hand of a village of Munsee Indians nearby. Hand sent a small detachment to capture the Munsees. The soldiers found only four women and a young boy. The militiamen killed all of the captives with the exception of one woman. Hand disapproved of the murders, since they were of non-combatants.  But he was not present when the executions took place and could not stop them. His men returned to Fort Pitt. The campaign against the natives became known as the "Squaw Campaign," because most of the Indians that the Americans killed and captured were women.

Throughout the campaign, Hand experienced tremendous difficulty in controlling the undisciplined militiamen. The expedition demonstrated the need for regular soldiers in the Ohio Country. Militiamen often lacked the training and the discipline necessary to defend American settlements on the frontier. The campaign also showed the urgent need for fortifications in the Ohio Country. Fort Pitt was too far away to assist the American military in campaigns in the Ohio Country.

See Also


  1. Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.