War Along the Wabash
The Ohio Indian Confederacy's Destruction of the US Army, 1791
320 Pages, 6 x 9 in, B/W
- April 2023
- In Stock
On November 4, 1791, a coalition of warriors determined to set the Ohio River as a permanent boundary between tribal lands and white settlements faced an army led by Arthur St. Clair—the resulting horrific struggle ended in the greatest defeat of an American army at the hands of Native Americans.
The road to the battle of the Wabash began when Arthur St. Clair was appointed to lead an army into the heart of the Ohio Indian Confederacy while building a string of fortifications along the way. He would face difficulties in recruiting, training, feeding, and arming volunteer soldiers. From the moment St. Clair’s shattered force began its retreat from the Wabash the men blamed the officers, and the officers in turn blamed their men. For over two centuries most historians have blamed either the officer corps, enlisted soldiers, an entangled logistical supply line, poor communications, or equipment. The destruction of the army resulted in a stunned Congress authorizing a regular army in 1792.
This book, the result of 30 years’ research, puts the battle into the context of the last quarter of the 18th century, exploring how the central importance of land ownership to Europeans arriving in North America resulted in unrelenting demographic pressure on indigenous tribes, as well as the enormous obstacles standing in the way of the fledgling American Republic in paying off its enormous war debts.
This is the story of how a small band of determined indigenous peoples defended their homeland, destroyed an invading American army, and forced a fundamental shift in the way in which the United States waged war.
2 The Post-War War
4 Woodland Indians
5 Arthur St. Clair
6 Futile Attempts at Control
7 Indian Warfare
8 The Indian Confederacy
9 The Annihilation of Native Culture: Alcohol, Demographics and Disease
10 Little Turtle of the Miami; Blue Jacket of the Shawnee
11 Assembling an Army. A chronological Narration of the St. Clair Campaign Between March 1791 to November 1791
"In War Along the Wabash, historian Steven Locke recounts the events leading to the November 4, 1791 Native victory over an American army led by Arthur St. Clair deep within the Old Northwest frontier. The battle remains the worst defeat ever inflicted on the United States military. In vivid and evocative prose, Locke describes the moment when one of the most talented and consequential generations of Native leadership in American history confronted the young republic's Founding Fathers with devastating results. War along the Wabash is a compelling retelling of one of the most pivotal events in the nation's early history." ~Dr. Larry Nelson, Faculty Emeritus in History, and former Chair; Department of History at Francis Marion University
"On Nov. 4, 1791, two and a half years after George Washington's inauguration, the infant United States of America suffered its first national disaster. That day, an Ohio Indian army, led by a host of celebrated commanders, met the new U.S. Army in the woods of western Ohio. In three hours of battle, the Indians destroyed the U.S. Army, killing many famous heroes of the Revolutionary War. Historian Steven P. Locke's War Along the Wabash, which addresses that colorful event, reviews in admirable detail what happened, and captures much of the horror that those who were there experienced." ~John Winkler, author of Wabash 1791
"Locke provides such a vivid and multifaceted back story to life in untamed Ohio territory that the reader is transported back to 1791 as one of the participants. When Major General Arthur St. Clair and his squabbling officers lead an unharmonious Army into the deep woods north of the Ohio River chasing after fierce warrior of a unified Indian confederacy, one wants to bolt with the deserters for Kentucky with each felled tree and reduction in daily rations. The result is a brutal, bloody, and heartbreaking American debacle along the frigid banks of the Wabash. This is a scandalous and cautionary tale of how even the most experienced of combat leaders can be lulled into ignoring his own failing health, the fading morale of his men, and the overstretched supply lines of his forces while embarking upon grand missions with confusing aims—all in pursuit of 'glory'." ~Jeff Danby, author of Men of Armor
“War Along the Wabash is an excellent introduction to the Washington Administration’s Indian policy as well as that of the post-revolutionary United States and a guide to a significant, but often overlooked battle of the early Indian Wars.” ~War History Network
“Rescuing from an undeserved obscurity one of the great triumphs of 18th Century Native Americans over the U. S. Military, War Along the Wabash is a seminal work of meticulous research and scholarship.” ~Midwest Book Review
“War Along the Wabash is a superb analysis of one of America’s worst military disasters. I heartily recommend it.” ~The Journal of America's Military Past
“[T]he book itself is a delight. War Along the Wabash is very well written and will engross readers familiar with the period and novices alike.” ~ARGunners.com