Ohio History Journal

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VOL. XXVI. No. 2.

APRIL, 1917.


It will be recalled that the autumn, winter and spring of 1777-8 was

the period of the low ebb of the cause of the Colonial Revolutionists. In

the late spring of 1778, while Washington was just emerging from Valley

Forge, George Rogers Clark entered upon the daring expedition to save

the Northwest to the Colonies. The British-Canadian authorities were

planning not only to circumvent Clark but to "carry the war into

Africa" by sending from Detroit a great Indian expedition through the

Ohio country to Fort Pitt. Fort Randolph, at the mouth of the Ka-

nawha was also designated by the British as a point for capture. The

field of the Revolution bid fair to be shifted west of the Alleghenies

into the heart of the Ohio territory. It must be wrested from the British

and their Indian allies. Washington, while still at Valley Forge, planned

a western expeditionary offensive movement. From the Virginia moun-

tains an army of three thousand men was to be raised; it was to be in

two divisions of fifteen hundred each; one division was to assemble in

the back counties of Virginia and march through Greenbrier down the

Big Kanawha to Fort Randolph; the other division was to assemble at

Fort Pitt, descend the Ohio in boats to Fort Randolph, whence the

united force was to invade Ohio and subduing the hostile Indian tribes

proceed to and capture Detroit. The Continental Congress, then a

fugitive at York, Pa., in May (1778), endorsed this pretentious plan,

voting to raise the men and to appropriate $900,000, in silver dollars or

its equivalent, for the necessary expense. Washington named General

Lachlan McIntosh as commander of this western military project. It

was one thing for Congress to vote men and currency; it was another

to carry out the proposition. Moreover, shifting conditions among the

Indians interfered with the plans proposed. However General McIntosh

with five hundred men proceeded from Fort Pitt to Beaver Creek where

he built on the banks of the Ohio a stockade fort, named after the

General, Fort McIntosh. Meanwhile the Virginia army was not raised;

the great western war scheme was abandoned, but early in November

McIntosh set forth with a force of twelve hundred, the ultimate destina-

tion being Detroit; but he found it necessary to abandon the proposal to

immediately proceed to Detroit; with a portion of his force he reached a

site on the west bank of the Tuscarawas, below the mouth of Sandy

creek, about a mile south of the present village of Bolivar. It was the identi-

cal site where Colonel Henry Bouquet, in 1766, had, on his western