Siege of Fort Recovery

From Ohio History Central

In 1792, President George Washington appointed Anthony Wayne as the commander of the United States Army of the Northwest, currently serving in the Northwest Territory. The major purpose of this army was to defend American settlers from American Indian resistance. Josiah Harmar and Arthur St. Clair had both suffered defeat at the hands of American Indians in the region in the previous few years, and Washington hoped that Wayne would prove more successful. In the fall of 1793, Wayne moved against the American Indian groups. As they neared known American Indian territory in December 1793, Wayne had his men build Fort Recovery on the site of St. Clair's Defeat in 1791.

Fort Recovery had four blockhouses and was surrounded by a fifteen-foot high stockade wall. The fort had at least three cannon to assist its defenders. Wayne left only a small force at Fort Recovery, while the remainder of his army stayed at Fort Greene Ville.

Tensions escalated between the Anglo-Americans and the American Indians during the summer of 1794. The American Indians believed the fort was too strong for a direct assault, so they determined to attack supply trains and relief columns coming to the stockade. In essence, they would starve the American soldiers from the fort. On June 30, 1794, 1,500 Shawnee, Delaware, Ottawa, Miami, and Ojibwa attacked a pack train returning from Fort Recovery to Fort Greene Ville. Little Turtle, Blue Jacket, and Simon Girty led the assault. The attack was made less than one thousand feet from Fort Recovery. Of the 140 American soldiers escorting the wagons, the American Indian forces killed or wounded fifteen. They also seized three hundred horses. American Indian casualties amounted to three dead warriors. Soon after this attack, the American Indians, emboldened by their earlier success, launched a night attack against Fort Recovery. The 250 American soldiers succeeded in defending the fort but lost twenty-two men. The American Indian groups suffered forty dead and twenty wounded.

This defeat weakened the proposed American Indian alliance. Little Turtle believed that American Indian groups had no chance against the Americans and called for peace. Many American Indians agreed and returned to their homes. Others remained to fight, and the leadership of the natives fell to Blue Jacket. Wayne defeated them at the Battle of Fallen Timbers on August 20, 1794.

See Also


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