Ohio History Journal








The government of the United States went into

effect in 1789 and General George Washington was its

first president. While the new republic was busily en-

gaged in adjusting its domestic affairs, an Indian con-

federation was formed in the region of the Miami of

the lakes (Maumee River) that seriously challenged the

sovereign power of the national government in the

Northwest Territory.

In a spirit of defiance, the Indians proclaimed that

all territory north of the Ohio River was theirs. The

same territory was coveted by Great Britain by whom

it was ceded to the United States at the close of the

Revolutionary War. She sought to recover it through

an alliance with the Indians and contributed more or

less to their success in the defeat of Harmar and the

rout of St. Clair.

The issue of sovereignty over this vast territory as-

sumed an international aspect when it became known

that the confederation was organized at the instigation

of British agents. In reality, the contest was between

England on the one hand and the United States on the

other. It was evident to the government that another

Indian victory would expose the settlements west of the

Alleghanies to the firebrand and the tomahawk, and af-


Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville 43

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville  43

ford Great Britain the opportunity to recover the terri-

tory without conquest and annex it to her Canadian


In this crisis, the government organized a third

army and Washington placed it under the command of

General Anthony Wayne. The legion, as the army was

called, marched north from Fort Washington, (Cincin-

nati) in 1793 to a branch of the Stillwater River in what

is now Darke County, Ohio. The position of the legion

was as far north of Fort Washington as safety would

permit, and here Fort Greenville, covering fifty-three

acres of ground, was constructed. The army remained

at Fort Greenville for nearly a year, and, under the

strict discipline of the commander, became as well drilled

as any army in the Revolutionary War. It was pro-

vided with supplies brought up from Fort Washington.

Wagons and pack-horses laden with provisions, and

droves of cattle for fresh meat were protected by the

intermediate forts of Hamilton, St. Clair and Jefferson.

The two thousand regulars stationed at Fort Green-

ville were reinforced, on July 26th, 1794, by an army of

Kentucky volunteers under the command of Major Gen-

eral Scott. And finally, two days later, the legion began

its eventful march toward the heart of the Indian con-

federacy. It pushed forward "without regard to bag

or baggage, as if not in search, but in actual pursuit of

a flying and disorderly enemy," and encamped that

night on the Stillwater. The camps of the legion cov-

ered about seventy-five acres of ground and were pro-

tected by breastworks of timber felled by the army. It

is said that Little Turtle urged an attack upon the legion

at this place, but the opportunity was lost because his

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fellow-chiefs disagreed as to the advisability of making

the assault. The legion passed Fort Recovery on the

29th and encamped "about half a mile from the fort."

On the 30th, it reached Beaver Creek where it was de-

tained the following day, while a bridge seventy yards

long was being constructed over the stream and the

swale through which it ran. Proceeding northeastward,

the expedition crossed the watershed and entering a

beautiful prairie, crossed Harmar's Trail of 1790 which

extends through the same from the east to the west.

The prairie (Shane's Prairie) afforded "elegant

scenery, handsomely interspersed with small copses of

trees" and gave the soldiers the first opportunity to view

the army as a whole.

Wayne avoided the error of Braddock, who, disre-

garding the advice of Washington, permitted his army

to march in a long column with a front no wider than

the road which it was following. The legion on the

contrary, advanced with a wide front. The scouts and

spies deployed in every direction. The front was pro-

tected by a strong guard. The artillery, the supply-

train, and the live stock followed the road cut out by the

axemen. At some distance and on both sides of the

road, the dragoons, the riflemen and other units marched

in columns parallel with that of the artillery. The sur-

veyor and the axemen kept in advance of the army and

were protected by an advance guard of troops and

scouts. The supply-train, live-stock, and the rear of the

army were protected "by the volunteers at supporting

distance in case of attack."

This method of advance explains why "The dra-

goons and the light troops sustained," on the 29th, "con-

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville 45

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville  45

siderable fatigue and injury from the thickness of the

woods and brush through which they passed on the

flanks," and why, on the following day, the left flank of

the army crossed the Wabash "more than a dozen times,

but not without great labor both to men and horses in

plunging through the muddy bed of said creek."

The reader of the journals can visualize a level,

swampy and heavily wooded land infected with mos-

quitoes larger than the soldiers had ever seen. There

was no water from sparkling streams or refreshing

springs to quench their excessive thirst during those hot,

dry days. On the contrary, the water in the sluggish

streams collected in stagnant pools and was coated with a

forbidding green scum. However, the intrepid army

marched on "through thickets almost impervious,

through morasses, defiles and bends (beds) of nettels

more than waist high and miles in length."

The foregoing quotations are from the journal of

Lieutenant William Clark, a copy of which is in the

Draper Collection of Manuscripts of the Historical So-

ciety of Wisconsin. It supplements well the journal of

Lieutenant Boyer upon which historians have largely

based their narratives of Wayne's campaign. However,

Boyer's journal is strangely silent on the topography of

the country north of the St. Mary's River, making it

difficult, if not impossible, to determine the line of march.

On the contrary, the journal of Clark and the diary of

Hart from the same collection of manuscripts, make it

possible to locate the route of the legion by referring to

certain streams, and by definitely fixing the time when

the legion reached the Auglaize.

It is evident that while the legion was advancing, the

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Indian scouts were observing closely the line of march.

The young aborigines from the West were watching in-

tently for the first indications of a movement toward

the Miami Villages, while runners from the Auglaize

were reporting to their towns the direction and progress

of the army.

This phase of the advance--from Fort Greenville to

the Stillwater, thence to Fort Recovery, Beaver Creek

and the St. Marys--is easily defined, but it left the In-

dians in doubt as to whether the route would finally bend

toward the Miami Villages or toward the Auglaize. The

scene of activity was then shifted to the north of the

St. Marys where it was Wayne's policy to confuse the

Indians by his tactics and elude them in his march. It

was the policy of the enemy to hang on the flanks of the

legion hoping to stay its advance by a surprise attack

at the first opportunity.

Leaving the prairie, the legion came to a near-by

stream, August 1st, 1794. It was the little St. Marys

River so frequently mentioned in the annals of Indian

warfare. The legion crossed the stream to camp for the

night, but an inspection of the ground convinced the

commander that the position would be difficult to de-

fend. It then re-crossed to the south bank and took a

position "in two columns to receive the enemy in front

and rear."

It seems to be the general understanding that the

legion was reinforced by sixteen hundred Kentucky vol-

unteers, under the command of General Scott, before it

advanced from Fort Greenville. However, it appears

from Clark's journal that only a portion of the volun-

teers were with the main army when the advance began.


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Somewhere in the rear of the legion, nine hundred of

the volunteers, under the command of General Barbee,

were making forced marches to overtake the main army.

The commander had reasons to believe that the lo-

cation of the legion was known to the Indians. An at-

tack was momentarily expected, and to make the situa-

tion more uncertain, one Newman of the quartermas-

ter's department, disappeared.  "It is hoped," Boyer

wrote in his journal, "that he will not give accurate in-

formation of our strength." Many queries presented

themselves to the minds of the officers as the sentries

were posted for the first night's encampment on the St.

Marys. Where are the Indians who besieged Fort Re-

covery only five weeks ago? Has Newman informed

them of Barbee's coming, and will they intercept his ad-

vance and capture his supplies? Where are the warriors

of Little Turtle? Have they retired to the Miami Vil-

lages, there to plan, should the legion advance in their

direction, to defeat it as they defeated Harmar in 1790?

Or, are they gathering at the Rapids of the Maumee, to

take their stand under cover of the fort recently erected

by a British army on American soil?

Captain Wells, the noted scout, and Captain Kibbey

of the Columbian Scouters, were called to General

Wayne's headquarters on the morning of August 2nd

and were ordered to deploy with their scouts in opposite

directions from the camp. The commander offered them

rewards for the bringing in of prisoners whom he might

question for information as to the plans and position of

the enemy. Wells was a son-in-law of Little Turtle.

Until recently, he lived from boyhood among the In-

dians. He knew their ways and was familiar with their

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville 49

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville  49

hunting-grounds. Brave man that he was, he hesitated

and asked for two hundred men to join his small party

of scouts, but the commander did not grant his request.

In the meantime the erection of a small fortification

was begun. It is referred to by Clark as Fort Randolph,

but by General Wayne it is appropriately referred to

as Fort Adams, by which name it has continued to be

known. Some confusion has arisen as to the location

of Fort Adams. This is due to the repeated statement

that the fort was built at Girty's Town. Girty's Town

was a trading-post conducted by James Girty, a rene-

gade and a brother of the notorious Simon Girty. His

store was located on the present site of the city of St.

Marys, where Wayne caused a fort to be erected after

the close of the campaign and the return of the legion

to Greenville.

The site of Fort Adams is on the south bank of the

St. Marys River, fifteen miles northwest of the site of

Girty's Town, and but a fraction of a mile east of the

bridge where the highway running due north of Celina

to Van Wert crosses that stream.

In the evening of the same day, Wells and Kibbey

returned. Clark records that "They made no discovery

except the trace of a horse, and a few men on foot wend-

ing their way towards the enemy's settlements. This

led to the belief that Mr. Newman who had been miss-

ing two days, was taken by the enemy who were thus

carrying him off."

The erection of the fort proceeded slowly on August

2nd, and in his eagerness to rush its completion by the

close of the 3rd, Wayne exposed himself to danger and

was injured by the falling of a tree. Happily, when

Vol. XXXIX--4

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evening came the fort was so near completion and the

commander had so far recovered from the injury that

an order was issued for a forward movement of the

army on the morning of the 4th. A reference in Clark's

journal to the injury sustained by the commander, indi-

cates that in the legion, as in other armies before and

since then, there was rivalry for leadership and power.

He declares that the loss of their commander would

have "deprived particular persons of their consequence"

and the "downfall of some would have been equal to the

tumble of our chief, occasioned by the fall of a large

beech tree."

The weather was hot and dry. The water was bad

and there was no appearance of rain. The soldiers

bathed in the river which was teeming with fish, a num-

ber of which were caught.

Nathaniel Hart of Woodford kept a "Memorandum

of Occurences in the Expedition of General Anthony

Wayne." He was with General Barbee's contingent of

nine hundred men that left Fort Hamilton on July 28--

the day on which General Wayne began his advance

from Fort Greenville. On the hot day of August 3rd,

Barbee's troops marched from Fort Recovery to Fort

Adams, twenty miles or more, and were ready to ad-

vance with the main army the next morning into the

deep forests that lay before them.

Just northward, across the river and in front of the

army, there lay a scope of land in the form of a triangle

enclosed by three rivers of which the St. Marys is on

the southwest; the Miami of the Lakes (Maumee) on

the northwest; and the Auglaize on the east. This ter-

ritory comprises the counties of Van Wert and Paulding

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville 51

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville  51

in Ohio, and a portion of both Adams and Allen in In-

diana. It was heavily timbered and abounded in wild

game. It was thought that the level and swampy nature

of the land precluded any attempt to penetrate the tri-

angle, except in exceedingly dry weather.

The Miami Villages stood like a sentinel at the west-

ern angle of the triangle and levied tribute on the traffic

over the portage to the Wabash, and on the trails and

rivers converging at that point. The northern angle of

the triangle is formed by the Maumee and its tributary,

the Auglaize. This place was referred to as Grand

Glaize by General Wayne in his letter of August 14,

1794, informing the Secretary of War that the army

under his command "took possession of this very im-

portant post on the morning of the 8th instant."

The strategic position of Grand Glaize was apparent

to both the Indians and the invading army; first, because

of its natural strength, and second, because of its prox-

imity to the garrison of the British, who, from their for-

tification down the Maumee, were providing their In-

dian allies with arms and ammunition and promising

them assistance and protection which, at the opportune

time, they failed to give.

Along the boundaries of the triangle, the Indians

lived in numbers probably exceeding, at this time, that

of any other equal area in Ohio, while occasional vil-

lages were found on the higher lands within. It seems

that their settlements had attained to some degree of

permanency, for the fertile soil was contributing

largely to their livelihood. At the Miami Villages where

Fort Wayne was later built, five hundred acres of land

were under cultivation and twenty thousand bushels of

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corn were destroyed by Harmar in 1790. A thousand

acres of corn were growing at Grand Glaize when

Wayne reached that point five days later. The army

marched along the Auglaize through cornfields variously

estimated at from five to seven miles in length, while the

wigwams and the cornfields along the banks of the Mau-

mee presented the appearance of an almost continuous

settlement. Vegetables grew in abundance and mag-

nificent fruit-trees lined the streams. The land in which

they were living captivated the soldiers by its fertility

and beauty.

Wayne had the military instinct to recognize stra-

tegic values and the good judgment to seize and fortify

strategic points. To him Grand Glaize was the "grand

emporium of the hostile Indians of the west." As the

result of British propaganda against the United States,

the largest conference of aborigines ever held in North

America assembled at this place in 1792 to deliberate on

the questions of peace and war. In Wayne's judgment,

nothing could occur that would tend more to weaken

their morale and divide their councils, than to arrive

suddenly and unheralded in their midst at Grand

Glaize, and then seize and fortify the most strategic po-

sition. In that event, proffers of peace would doubtless

be treated with more consideration and respect; and

then, if he must fight, he would be sustained by an army

with higher spirits and a still greater morale. He then

determined to drive forward without delay and as speed-

ily as possible for Grand Glaize.

The army set out for Grand Glaize on the morning

of August 4, 1794. Perhaps there was no event in the

campaign as momentous in its results, and no decision

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville 53

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville  53

so great in its strategy as that rendered in the choosing

of a route leading from Fort Adams to Grand Glaize.

Three alternatives presented themselves to the com-

mander in deciding which route to take. First, the

legion might march down the St. Marys River to the

Miami Villages at the head of the Maumee, as Harmar

did in 1790, and as it was St. Clair's intention to do in

1791; and then proceed  down the Maumee to Grand

Glaize; second, it might march eastward to the Auglaize

and follow that stream to Grand Glaize; third, it might

penetrate the triangle above referred to and reach its

destination by a central and more direct route.

It was evident that the choice of the first route might

be regarded and accepted by the Miami tribes as a chal-

lenge and precipitate a conflict with Little Turtle, the

victor of both Harmar and St. Clair, on ground of his

own choice. The second route would expose the army

to an attack by the Delaware, Ottawa and allied tribes

who were still inspired by the spirit of Pontiac who was

born in the vicinity of Grand Glaize. Furthermore,

from their position to the north and east of the Maumee,

the Wyandots could, if necessary, quickly reinforce

either the Miamis on their right, or the Delawares and

Ottawas on their left. The home of the brave and rest-

less Shawnees was along the watershed in the rear. It

is said that they were present at Penn's treaty with the

Indians. They measured swords with Washington at

Braddock's defeat and fought valiantly under Cornstalk

at Point Pleasant. The environment of their youth was

surcharged with such an intensity of feeling and oppo-

sition to the intrusion of the whites, that it impelled the

young Tecumseh to dedicate his life to the cause of his

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people, and henceforth to match his ability against that

of the whites and particularly against William Henry

Harrison, a young lieutenant of twenty-one, in Wayne's


The army was then encircled by the enemy whom

Wayne planned to hold at a distance; and he did so by

diverting their attention from the real route that he

planned to take. Accordingly he reported to the Secre-

tary of War that he

Made such demonstration as to induce the savages to expect

our advance to the Miami Villages on the left, or toward Roche

De Boeuf, or foot of the rapids on the right--which feints appear

to have produced the desired effect by drawing the attention of the

enemy to those points, and gave an opening for the army to ap-

proach undiscovered by a devious i. e., in a central direction.

The advance from Fort Adams on August 4th is

vividly described in Clark's Journal as follows:

Notwithstanding the vulnerable state of the Garrison, by the

rising of the sun, the beating of the General was heard to signify

his Excellency's intention to take up the line of march. Accord-

ingly the army was conducted over the river, and proceeded

through intolerable thick woods, and the earth covered with snagly

underwoods, and almost impassable defiles--however, we reached

a small dirty water, a branch of Glaize River, after a march of

about twelve miles, and there took up our encampment for the


Clark did not confine his journal to the mere state-

ment of facts, but occasionally, the ardent youth who in

the future was to win fame as a member of the Lewis

and Clark Expedition, could not refrain from express-

ing his critical opinion of the policies of his superior.

He regarded the assignment of Lieutenant Underhill to

the command of Fort Adams as a punishment equivalent

to that which an officer should receive for speaking dis-

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville 55

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville   55

respectfully of his superior, if to so speak were a crime;

and he further wrote:

I can't pass the situation of Lieutenant Underhill unnoticed;

the officer was left to the command of Fort Randolph, owing to

his being indisposed; and his command consisting of no more

than forty invalids. Thus was he left to finish and defend this

miserable hold, in the midst of the enemy's country; without the

smallest probability of being reinforced, or aided in the completion

of the works.

In contrast with Clark's story of the first day's ad-

vance from Fort Adams, is the brief record of the same

day in the journal of Lieutenant Boyer and the still

shorter record in the diary of Hart.

Boyer: Camp thirty-one miles in advance of Fort Recovery,

August 4, 1794.

----The aforesaid garrison being completed, Lieutenant Un-

derhill, with one hundred men, left to protect it; departed at six

o'clock and arrived here at, three o'clock, being ten miles. The

land we marched through is rich and well timbered, but the water

scarce and bad; obliged to dig holes in boggy places and let it


Hart: Marched with the main army 18 miles and encamped

on a small creek; very bad water that night.

On the fifth of August the army broke camp at five

o'clock in the morning and having marched down the

creek for twelve or thirteen miles went into camp at four

o'clock. The following records of the events of that

day have been preserved for us.

Clark: August 5th, '94. Renewed the march at 5 o'clock--

passed through much such country as yesterday; kept down the

creek, made about 12 miles.

Boyer: Camp forty-four miles in advance of Fort Recovery,

August 5, 1794. We arrived at this place at four o'clock, nothing

particular occurring. The land and water above described--had

some rain today.

Hart: Marched early and encamped 26 miles from Ft. Ran-

dolph which is on the St. Mary's which (is) a branch of the


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The brief record of August 5th is significant. For

two days the legion marched in a "central direction" but

no Indians were seen. Wayne's plan of eluding them

proved successful. While they were watching for the

army to appear either on the right or the left, it was

driving between them like a whirlwind toward the heart

of their confederacy.

On the third day, August 6th, the army was ap-

proaching Indian territory which according to the field

notes of the government survey of Paulding County was

traversed by Indian paths, trails and roads, and for the

first time since leaving Fort Adams signs of the enemy

were discovered. The story of this day's march is told

as follows:

Clark: Commenced the march as yesterday; at nine miles

reached a considerable stream called Upper Delaware Creek--

proceeded three miles down the same, and there encamped on its

banks. Our spies and about three hundred volunteers sent in

advance, as supposed near some of the enemy's villages. Wells

discovered the fresh signs of ten or twelve near one of the villages

which had been deserted since last fall.

Boyer: Camp fifty-six miles from Fort Recovery, August 6,


Encamped on this ground at two o'clock. In the course of

our march perceived the track of twenty Indians. I am informed

we are within six miles of one of their towns on the Oglaize River,

supposed to be the Upper Delaware town. If so, I expect to eat

green corn tomorrow. Our march this day has been through an

exceedingly fine country, but the water still bad--the day cooler

than heretofore.

Hart: Marched early; encamped on a large creek 58 miles

from Ft. Recovery, water still bad. A detachment was set off to

attack an Indian town but the place had been deserted some time.

The scouts who were deploying in every direction

discovered tracks of the enemy. Rumors of all kinds

naturally floated in as the army was nearing its goal, and

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville 57

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville  57

a thrill of expectancy swept through the ranks. The

size of the expedition and the efficient training of the

soldiers increased their confidence as they pushed on-

ward, and it was only by the restraining influence of the

commander that the army was prevented from running

headlong into the dangers of Indian warfare. Accord-

ingly, the legion went into camp on the banks of the

Upper Delaware Creek, at two o'clock in the afternoon,

to give ample time to erect strong barricades for its


A careful investigation has not produced any map

or record with which to identify any stream by that

name. However, it is safe to assume that this name

was applied to the stream because Delaware Indians

lived in the section through which it flows.

August 7th, marked the last full day's march of the

army towards its goal, and the narrative of the events

is as follows:

Clark: August 7th, 1794. Marched at the usual hour--con-

tinued down the creek five miles to the Owl town before men-

tioned--halted for an hour, after crossing the Delaware Creek

and reached the Glaze River, and after a march of ten miles, we

encamped for the night.

Boyer: Camp 68 miles from Ft. Recovery, August 7, 1794.

--This day passed the upper town on the Oglaize which the In-

dians evacuated some time ago. I expect to see one of their new

towns, where I am told there are all sorts of vegetables, which will

be very acceptable to the troops. We have had no appearance of

Indians today.

Hart: August 7. Marched early and encamped at the Aug-

laize River 61 miles from Fort Recovery. At the 68th mile tree

we found plenty of roasting ears, beans, potatoes, etc.

The scouts continued their activities, and penetrated

the country in all directions. At last they brought word

that the Indians were abandoning their homes. General

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Wilkinson, the second in command, envisioned an oppor-

tunity to lead a quick, decisive drive against Grand

Glaize. But Wayne who was remembered as the reck-

less and foolhardy captor of Stony Point in the Revolu-

tion, remembering the admonitions of President Wash-

ington against a surprise and the dangers of dividing an

army as Harmar and St. Clair had done, asserted the

full responsibilities of leadership and disapproved the

plan that was contrary to his good judgment.

The feeling of those who desired to participate in a

surprise attack is well expressed in these words by Clark:

From our spies we had every reason to suppose the savages

were abandoning their possessions, and were not in force to resist

us. This gave an opening for enterprises. We were now within

twelve or fourteen miles of their principal settlements; everybody

was flushed with the idea of surprising (sic) them in the moment

of providing for their wives and children. The scheme was pro-

posed, and certain success was insured if attempted. Genl. Wil-

kinson suggested the plan to the Commander-in-chief, but it was

not his plan, nor perhaps his wish, to embrace so probable a means

for ending the war by compelling them to peace. This was not

the first occasion or opportunity which presented itself to our ob-

servent General for some grand stroke of enterprise, but the

Commander-in-Chief rejected all and every of his plans.

Early in the morning of August 8th, the legion

started on the final march of nine miles to reach its ob-

jective. As the army marched through fields of culti-

vated corn, there was little obstruction and the distance

was covered quickly. The high spirits of the army is

reflected in the journal narratives for that day.

Clark: August 8th, '94. Renewed the march at the usual

time--proceeded down the river to its confluence with the Miami,

about nine miles, seven of which through fields of cultivated corn

in the most flourishing situation, and found their villages just for-

saken; some of the houses were now burning; they left every ap-


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pearance of having gone off with precipitation and the greatest

consternation, which must afford a mortifying proof of the great

advantage we had let slip.

Hart: Aug. 8. Marched early; large field of fine corn and

a number of towns along down the river; arrived at Grandglaize

about 12 o'clock. A most beautiful situation; large fields of corn

on both sides of the river and the greatest abundance of every

kind of vegetables. Here Genl. Wayne encamped on the point and

the volunteers crossed the Maumee and encamped on the bank.

The great objective, the possession of Grand Glaize,

was attained. The Indians were outwitted and deceived.

Masterful strategy enabled an army, for the first time,

to maintain a position above the watershed, penetrate

the enemy's country, and reach their stronghold without

the loss of a man.

With amazement the Indians abandoned their homes

and only the traitor, Newman, saved them from cap-

ture. With the loss of their homes, their morale was

broken. And Little Turtle, who urged an attack on the

legion, shortly after its advance from Greenville, now

advised his people to consider well Wayne's proffers of


Every foot of ground trod from Fort Adams to

Grand Glaize bears evidence of the fact that Fallen Tim-

bers was won before the battle was fought.




It seems that this phase of the campaign has received

scant consideration. Yet, the entire route and particu-

larly the advance over that portion from Fort Adams

to Grand Glaize was the key that unlocked the door to

the region in which the Indians and their allies were

dwelling in confident but mistaken security.

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville 61

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville  61

The commander was instructed by the government

to win, if possible, through diplomacy rather than to

conquer by war. His efforts in that direction having

been repeatedly foiled by British influences, he had re-

solved to establish an impregnable post, at a strategic

place, from which to operate should his final efforts in

diplomacy fail.

He succeeded in reaching Grand Glaize by strategy

and its possession was a direct challenge to British pres-

tige among the Indians. The possession of Grand Glaize

had to be a reality before a victory at Fallen Timbers

could be considered a certainty. Likewise, there had

to be a masterly advance over a strategic route before

the flag of the new republic could be unfurled over Grand

Glaize without a battle with an unbeaten foe.

The battle at Fallen Timbers, the winning of Grand

Glaize, and the strategy involved in the advance to it,

were integral parts of Wayne's campaign.





Of all the historians who have written on Wayne's

campaign, there are only a few who have made the at-

tempt to trace his route from Fort Adams to Grand

Glaize. They affirm that the legion marched northeast

from Fort Adams to the site of Fort Jennings, of the

War of 1812, and thence down the Auglaize River to its

junction with the Maumee River. For reasons already

pointed out in this article, the legion could not have fol-

lowed the large streams without revealing both its posi-

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tion and objective to the enemy. It would have been

poor strategy to follow the Indian trails along the Aug-

laize or the Maumee, but it was good strategy to avoid


Furthermore, the journal of Clark and the diary of

Hart clearly show that the Auglaize was not reached

until August 7th, the day before its arrival at Grand

Glaize. It was on the same day that Boyer made his

first positive statement revealing the advance of the

army along the Auglaize.

In 1882, R. Sutton & Co. of Wapakoneta, Ohio, pub-

lished an able history of Van Wert and Mercer coun-

ties. On page 53, an interesting interpretation of

Boyer's journal, so far as it pertains to the route through

Mercer County, is given. However, in describing the

route north of Fort Adams, the author took a statement

of Boyer out of its proper setting and applied it to a

wrong date. This error is obvious from reading the

following statement which appears on the same page:

At the end of twenty-one miles (It is probable that the author

meant twenty-three miles) from Fort Adams the legion was

within six miles of one of the Indian towns on the Auglaize,

which was supposed to be the Upper Delaware town, but here the

country was "Exceedingly fine." This must have been near Fort


Now, according to Boyer, the legion marched ten

miles from Fort Adams on August 4th and thirteen

miles farther on August 5th, or a total distance of

twenty-three miles. It was then, on August 5th, that the

legion reached a point "twenty-one miles from Fort

Adams." If the legion advanced, on this particular day,

to a position within six miles of any Indian town on the

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville 63

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville  63

Auglaize, then it must be conceded that the location of

the army had to be near Fort Jennings.

Again, if the statement quoted from Sutton's his-

tory is correct, then the legion was twenty-one miles

from Fort Adams on August 5th, near Fort Jennings

on August 5th, and also "within six miles of one of the

Indian towns on the Auglaize" on August 5th. But,

was the legion "within six miles of one of the Indian

towns on the Auglaize" on that day? Let Boyer's entry

of August 5th answer the question. Here it is in full:

Camp forty-four miles in advance of Fort Recovery, August

5, 1794. We arrived at this place at four o'clock, nothing par-

ticular occurring. The land and water as above described--had

some rain today.

The entry is devoid of any reference to the Auglaize

or to any Indian town on the Auglaize. On the con-

trary, his reference to the Indian town on the Auglaize

is found in the following entry of August 6th:

I am informed that we are within six miles of one of their

towns on the Oglaize River, supposed to be the Upper Delaware

town. * * * Our march this day has been through an ex-

ceedingly fine country, etc.

It is now clear that Sutton made an error in repre-

senting the position of the legion as being within six

miles of the Indian town on August 5th, when in fact,

it did not reach that point until August 6th. It is there-

fore evident that the army was not necessarily near Fort

Jennings on August 5th, or at any other time during its

advance toward Grand Glaize.

Sutton's history has not only misled many readers,

but subsequent writers have repeated the error. This

is quite evident in Historic Highways, Vol. 8, page 207,

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by Hulbert. The text discloses that the author made a

personal investigation in the vicinity of Fort Adams

when gathering material for his series of books, and no

doubt Sutton's history was consulted by him. On the

above page, Hulbert says:

On the afternoon of August 6th, the army reached the banks

of the celebrated "Glaize," the Auglaize river.

And further on in the text, he adds:

It (the route) ran northward from Fort Adams, probably

near Fort Jennings of the War of 1812. * * * etc.

The above quotations are but logical conclusions

drawn from the erroneous statement pointed out in Sut-

ton's history. It should be remembered that Boyer made

no statement in his journal indicating that the legion

had reached the Auglaize until August 7th, when he

wrote the following:

This day passed the upper town on the Oglaize.

Lieutenant Boyer's journal is likewise printed in

full in Slocum's History of the Maumee River Basin.

Without producing any other evidence, the author holds

that the legion passed down the Auglaize River and

was near Fort Jennings when forty-four miles from

Fort Recovery, or twenty-three miles from Fort Adams.

It could be said in reply and with equal force that there

are many other points forty-four miles from Fort Re-

covery, and for that reason it would be as logical to

hold that any one of such points, as may suit the fancy

or imagination, marks the location of Wayne's trail.

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville 65

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville  65





It has been shown that the theory of Wayne's route

extending from Fort Adams to the Auglaize River by

way of Fort Jennings, and thence down the same to the

Maumee River, is supported by insufficient evidence. It

is now necessary to marshal all available evidence in an

endeavor to locate the true course of the trail. It is

better to begin at Grand Glaize and work backward, or

rather to proceed from the known to the unknown.

All authorities agree that the army marched from

the mouth of Flat Rock Creek to Grand Glaize on Au-

gust 8th, a distance of nine miles. They also agree that

a portion of the march on the 7th was from the junc-

tion of the Auglaize and Little Auglaize Rivers to the

mouth of Flat Rock Creek, a distance of seven and one-

half miles, or sixteen and one-half miles from Grand

Glaize. It was upon this march that the legion passed

the Upper Delaware town (Charloe) referred to by

Boyer in his journal entries of the 6th and 7th. There-

fore, it must have marched four and one-half miles be-

fore it reached the junction of the two rivers; or, in

other words, it broke camp on the morning of the 7th,

four and one-half miles from the junction, or twenty-

one miles from Grand Glaize.

Where, then, was the camp located? In the first

place, this is the camp referred to by Boyer, on August

6th, as being fifty-six miles from Fort Recovery, and

also within six miles of the Indian town on the Auglaize.

Thus Boyer gives distances but no other evidence by

which the site of the camp can be located. However,

Vol. XXXIX--5.

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Clark states that the encampment was three miles down

"a considerable stream called Upper Delaware Creek,"

while Hart states that the army "encamped on a large

creek." During the morning's march of four and one-

half miles, the army "halted for an hour, after crossing

the Delaware Creek and reached the Glaize River."

The camp was not on the Auglaize River, but on the

"Upper Delaware Creek."

By what name is the "Upper Delaware Creek" now

known? It would be well at this point to ask a question

and let the answer stand as a solution of the problem.

What "considerable stream" or what "large creek" is

there, that can be crossed above the junction of the

Auglaize and Little Auglaize rivers, within six miles

of Charloe, or within four and one-half miles of the

junction, or within twenty-one miles of Grand Glaize?

An inspection of a map will reveal the fact that the

Little Auglaize River is the only stream that can be

crossed within the limits mentioned.

Therefore, the "Upper Delaware Creek" and the

Little Auglaize River are but different names for the

same stream, and the camp was located on the Little


It is not improbable that when the army crossed the

Little Auglaize, it made a circuit toward the present

site of Oakwood and rested at the junction of the rivers,

where Fort Brown was erected during the War of

1812. Here, in the words of Clark, the army "halted

for an hour," or in the words of Hart, it "encamped at

the Auglaize River 61 miles from Fort Recovery," but

it continued its march to the 68th mile tree (Flat Rock

Creek) where a plenty of roasting ears, beans, pota-


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toes, etc.," were found. The information gleaned from

the journal of Clark and the diary of Hart is corrobo-

rated by a letter of Major Jonathan Haskell, an officer

in the legion, who in a letter written August 29, 1794,

states in part that

We then crossed the St. Marys and in four or five days'

marching found the Auglaize River, and continued on down that

stream to its junction with the Miami of the Lake; distance 100

miles from Greenville by the route we pursued.

This letter is found in an old book, Pioneer Settlers

of Ohio, Second Series, page 347.

Here we have the written evidence of three mem-

bers of Wayne's army proving that the Auglaize was

not reached until the 7th. It effectively disproves the

position of Hulbert that the Auglaize was reached on

the 6th, and clearly shows that the legion did not march

from Fort Jennings down the Auglaize.

The events of August 7th, 1794, may be summarized

as follows: The army broke camp on the Little Aug-

laize River, marched a short distance and crossing that

stream came to the Auglaize River; after halting for

an hour, it proceeded down the Auglaize, passed the

Upper Delaware town (Charloe) and went into camp

at the mouth of Flat Rock Creek, nine miles from

Grand Glaize.




It was on August 6th that the legion "reached" the

Upper Delaware Creek, or the Little Auglaize River,

and marched three miles down the same before going

into Camp. Since the legion "reached" the Little Aug-

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville 69

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville  69

laize after marching nine miles, it is obvious that it had

not been following that stream. It is well to keep this

fact in mind, should the idea be advanced that the route

led from Fort Adams along the entire length of the

Little Auglaize. On the preceding day the army "kept

down the creek" which Clark called the "small dirty

water," and there is nothing to indicate that it did not

continue to keep down the same on the 6th.

In what direction was the army marching when it

reached the Little Auglaize? Now, all tributaries of

the Little Auglaize flow from the southwest. There-

fore, when the legion was marching down the "small

dirty water" it was approaching the Little Auglaize

from the same direction. Prairie Creek cannot be iden-

tified as the "small dirty water," because its course is

too far north, while Dog Creek is too far above the

junction of the streams. All evidence points to the

identification of the stream known as Middle Creek in

Paulding County, or Town Creek in Van Wert County

(known on early maps as the Middle Fort of the Little

Auglaize) as the "small dirty water."

The route of the legion, on August 6th, extended

from the northeast part of Hoaglin Township, Van

Wert County, along Town or Middle Creek, to the Lit-

tle Auglaize and continued down that stream for the

distance of three miles to a point near Melrose.




For twelve or thirteen miles the legion "kept down

the creek" from a point about three miles south of Van

Wert to the northeast part of Hoaglin Township. The

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bank of the creek afforded an admirable route for the

advance of the legion. A road conforming closely to

the trail was located in 1825--ten years before the city

of Van Wert was laid out. There are people still living,

both north and south of the city, who in their youth

knew the road as the "Defiance trail," "Wayne's trail"

or "Wayne's trace." This tradition is affirmed on page

190 of Sutton's history, where the author, in referring

to the early settlers of Pleasant Township in which the

city of Van Wert is located, states that

In the region of Piqua, 60 miles south, the necessaries of life

were more abundant, to which these settlers directed their way;

and the water-mills were peculiarly attractive. General Wayne's

trail, leading from St Mary's to Fort Defiance was the line of

travel going south for provisions.

In other words, the settlers followed Wayne's route

south to Shanesville (Rockford) and then followed the

trail over which the legion proceeded to Girty's Town

(St. Marys) on its return march to Fort Greenville.

The statement just quoted directly contradicts the state-

ment on page 53, in the same history, where the author

says that when the legion was twenty-one miles from

Fort Adams, it must have been near Fort Jennings.

There is a manuscript in the Brumback County

Library of Van Wert, written by the late Judge H. C.

Glenn, who in referring to Wayne's trail, says:

This trail was quite visible from Van Wert north when we

came to the village in 1847. I have passed over it many times.

The then visible trail started at a point near the Second Methodist

Church and followed closely Town Creek crossing the same on

what is known as the Ketchem land north of town and following

closely the creek, avoiding the abrupt bends of the same, passing

very closely to the four corners of Ridge, Pleasant, Hoaglin and

Union Townships. From the course of the trail at the point first

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville 71

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville  71


named it must have crossed the Ridge, now Main Street, and the

creek near the Old Cemetery.

The last time I have any recollection of passing over the trail

was on Thanksgiving day, 1863. Instead of attending Thanks-

giving services as I should have done, I spent the day squirrel-

hunting, passing down the trail and returning by the Defiance

Road. At that time there was no improved land north of the

Strother land and the trail was followed with much ease.

The essential points to note in the above quotation

are that the "then visible portion of the trail" started

on the right side of the creek, and that the Ketchem

land, which lies north of the Strother Land, was there-

fore unimproved. The trail running through the un-

improved land crossed to the left side of the creek and

following the stream passed very closely to the four

corners of Ridge, Pleasant, Hoaglin and Union town-


It must have re-crossed the stream, but before re-

uniting with the road, it ran a short distance between

the same and the creek. The highway is located on the

right side of the stream, and its location, in relation to

the latter, has never been changed. Since there never

was a road on the left side of the stream, it cannot be

said that this portion of the trail was an abandoned

highway. Just before the trail reached the road (State

Road No. 9) bending north from the highway and lead-

ing to Paulding, it ran between the creek and highway

and is still remembered by the older citizens. John R.

Spears, author of a life of Wayne, and whose boyhood

days were spent in Van Wert, was familiar with it, and

has informed the writer that it was like an old aban-

doned loggers' road into the wilderness and was pretty

well filled up with second growth. He was assured by

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his father, who was a surveyor and the first Mayor of

Van Wert, that this was Wayne's trace.

It is stated in Gilliland's History of Van Wert

County, on page 53, that Wayne passed through Van

Wert on what was known to the early settlers as the

Defiance trail; and again, on page 58, that what is

known as Wayne's trail was visible from Van Wert

north for many years after the settlement of the county.




The legion was 'conducted' over the river and was

about to penetrate a scope of land through which no

army had marched before. The objective of the army

was unknown to the enemy. Hulbert (Historic High-

ways, Vol. 8, page 208) says "While at Fort Adams,

Wayne had made feints at cutting two roads, one down

the St. Marys River and another northwest (he must

have meant northeast) straight towards Roche de Boeuf.

These routes were both opened for some distance, that

down the St. Marys at least as far as the famous ford at

Shane's crossing--the present Rockford." Early set-

tlers tell of a road that formerly ran northeast from Fort

Adams, a remnant of which is still in use near Jones-

town, in Van Wert County. This is the road referred to

by Hulbert, and may have been in use as a portion of

the line of communication between Fort Adams which

was re-occupied during the War of 1812, and Fort Jen-

nings, which was erected during the same war.

Now, Harmar's trail of 1790 extended from Girty's

town (St. Marys) northwest to the St. Marys River,

and crossing the ford at Rockford continued in the same

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville 73

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville  73

direction to the Miami Villages (Fort Wayne). The

road, "down the St. Marys," referred to by Hulbert, ran

as far west as Harmar's trail. By marching over this

road on the morning of the 4th, Wayne made a demon-

stration toward the west which convinced the Indians

that he was advancing on the Miami towns. But instead

of continuing on Harmar's trail, the legion turned north-

ward and "after a march of about twelve miles" "reached

a small dirty water" where it encamped for the night.

According to Clark, the legion had to contend with "in-

tolerable thick woods, snagley underwoods and almost

impassable defiles." The defiles run at right angles with

the river. To this day, in driving parallel with the river

over a highway conforming closely to the trail from the

fort to Rockford, one must cross at least five bridges

over streams flowing through little valleys or ravines

which are the vivid reminders of a toilsome and difficult

march. On the other hand, the route that ran northeast

to the Little Auglaize did not cross any defiles but ran

parallel with them. Furthermore, the Little Auglaize

would have been reached not "after a march of about

twelve miles" from the fort as the "small dirty water"

required, but after an advance of only three or four

miles. Hart records a march of eighteen miles. This is

accounted for by the fact that a demonstration was prob-

ably made toward the northeast, by the volunteers who,

after marching three or four miles, returned and joined

the main army.

These facts prove that the route of the legion was

not along the Little Auglaize River. They prove that

after crossing the St. Marys River, the route extended

west toward Rockford and then turning north reached

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Town Creek about three miles south of Van Wert. It

then followed Town Creek, the Little Auglaize and

lastly, the Auglaize River to the Maumee.

In 1824, the General Assembly of Ohio passed an

act to locate and establish a series of roads, the eighth

of which was designated in the act as

A state road from Shanesville in Mercer County, to Defiance

in Williams County.

Joseph Green and Anthony Shane were appointed

as commissioners and James Watson Riley as the sur-

veyor to locate the road. Riley was one of the found-

ers of the county-seats of Celina, Van Wert and Pauld-

ing. Shane was of French-Shawnee blood. He aided

the Indians in resisting the encroachment of the whites

but in the War of 1812 he served as a faithful scout

for the government. He knew Tecumseh, the Shaw-

nee, intimately. His manuscript journal of the life of

Tecumseh is in the Historical Society of Wisconsin and

has been used freely by the writers of history and

biography. The government conveyed to Shane a sec-

tion of land on which he was then living and where, in

1820, he founded the town of Shanesville, now Rock-

ford. In the same vicinity the government also con-

veyed lands to Black Loon, Charlie, Crescent, Peter La-

badie and the Godfreys. To this community, rich in

historic lore, Henry Howe came and in his chapter on

Mercer County, in Howe's Historical Collections of

Ohio, he wrote:

At this spot Wayne's army crossed going north, and the spot

eventually became known as Shane's Crossing.

While the legion did not cross precisely at Rock-

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville 75

Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville  75

ford, it did, however, proceed north from Rockford on

its final drive.

Having been a participant in the Indian Wars and

being acquainted with the network of streams and trails

in this section, Shane was well qualified to locate a new

road on the best route. Accordingly, the commission-

ers located a road from Shanesville to the mouth of the

Little Auglaize where it intercepted a road from St.

Marys to Defiance that followed Harrison's trail of the

War of 1812. The wisdom of Wayne's choice of a

route was confirmed by the return of the proceedings

of the commissioners certifying that the road had been

laid out on the "nearest and best ground." Although

the road was located in 1825 it was not improved until

1830. Contracts for the improvement were awarded

to the lowest bidders and it was stipulated, among other


All the standing timber twelve inches (in) diameter and

under to be taken out no stumps exceed-----inches in height all

old timber to be removed and the road to be cleared eighteen feet

wide which will be sold in lots from one to three miles, etc.

Seven miles of the road were improved for less than

six dollars per mile, while the highest cost was for three

miles at $16.87 1/2 per mile. The banks upon which the

road was located were heavily wooded and it is hardly

conceivable that a road could have been improved all

the way through Van Wert County without removing

some large timber, unless, on some former occasion,

timber both large and small had been removed to make

a passable road. This fact, added to the evidence al-

ready produced, shows clearly that the road was located

over Wayne's trail and that his axemen felled sufficient

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large timber to make the transportation of artillery and

supplies possible. Both trail and road were located on

the "nearest and best ground."

This trail led directly into the heart of the Indian

country, and into territory dominated by British influ-

ences. The first well-organized army of the United

States was enabled by marching over this route, to

shake off and confound the enemy.

The strategy conceived by the commander was ex-

ecuted at Fort Adams and bore fruit at Grand Glaize

in a surprised and fleeing foe. The evidences of victory

began to appear when the legion plunged into the dark

forests above the St. Marys, and was made a certainty

when it emerged on the banks of the Maumee. It spurred

the army on, and bristling cannon from the British

fort could not intimidate it. This trail marks the first

phase of an aggressive campaign, and the aborigines

learned from it that they were opposed by a com-

mander who could not be led into ambush, but who could

choose his own route and follow it to victory. That

march convinced the Indians that the United States

was determined to exercise the powers of sovereignty

in her own territory. It demonstrated to the British

that a growing national consciousness would no longer

countenance the occupation of American territory by a

foreign power. The route led to a victory both national

and international in its aspect, and the sovereign power

of the United States over her territory was never

seriously challenged again.