Ohio History Journal

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378 Ohio Arch

378        Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.








It is refreshing to read an original account of any important

battle, especially when the field of action is near at hand. Of the

600 survivors of St. Clair's unfortunate army probably quite a

number wrote narratives which have been lost or destroyed in

the wreck of time. The General's own report and the descrip-

tion of Benjamin Van Cleve have been published a number of

times and we take pleasure in printing another from the pen of

a Mr. Thos. Irwin, deceased, of Butler County, Ohio, who was a

wagoner in the army. Mr. Irwin has a number of descendants in

Darke county; among whom are David P. Irwin and Mr. William

Swartz, of Greenville. The manuscript is in the possession of the

latter gentleman, who kindly loaned it to the writer for copy and

publication. It reads as follows:

"The following is an account from the memory of the movements

of General Arthur St. Clair's army from Fort Hamilton to where said

army was defeated on the 4th of November, in the year 1791:

"The army marched from Fort Hamilton about the last of Sep-

tember or first of October, on a straight line by the compass, to where

Fort Jefferson was built; encamped and lay there over two weeks, until

the fort was built and finished. Left there in October, marched to

Greenville creek, encamped and lay there one week. Marched from there

on the 1st of November and was attacked and defeated on the morning

of the 4th by the Indians. It was the opinion of the general and his

officers that the Indians would not attack an army where there was so

many canon with them. There was three six pounders and three smaller

ones. On the day before the battle, about four miles on this side,

there was a general halt. Something got wrong. The weather was

cold. During our stay us wagoners in front kindled up a large fire.

The general and a number of the officers collected round it to warm

themselves. They chatted on several subjects. One was whereabouts we

were. The general opinion was that we had passed over the dividing

ridge between the waters of the Miamis and St. Mary's-was then on

the waters of St. Mary's. Colonel Serjant had been in front, came up

while they were chatting, informed them that the advance guard had

chased four or five Indians from a fire out of a thicket and got part