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This Week in History
August 16 - 22, 2015

Dispatch from the Committee of Correspondence,[1] 

General Anthony Wayne Shows the Great Lakes Indians
What Are the Character and Intentions of the British
(August 20, 1794)

By Pamela Lowry

Gen. Anthony Wayne (1745-1796)

August 20, 1794--General Anthony Wayne and his troops of the American Legion today won a decisive victory over the British invaders at Fallen Timbers in the Northwest Territory. During the eleven years since American independence was ratified, Great Britain has waged a relentless and illegal war against our frontier settlements, hoping thereby to maintain a large wilderness area between the Ohio River and Canada. Despite the terms of the Treaty of Paris in 1783, Britain has refused to withdraw from her forts on American soil at Niagara, Detroit, and Mackinac, and has even built a new post, Fort Miami, between Lake Michigan and Lake Erie.

During the past two years, General Wayne's American troops have been constructing a line of supply depots from the Ohio River north to the Great Lakes. The goal of this construction is not only the future settlement of the area, but to convince the Great Lakes Indians that the British are only using them as pawns in a larger strategic plan. Therefore, when the Indians attacked Wayne at Fallen Timbers, his troops did not fire back, but instead mounted a bayonet charge which drove the Indians back to Fort Miami. As Wayne had foreseen, the British refused to let the Indians into the fort, and they had to flee to the shelter of the surrounding forest.

By Kmusser (Self-made, based on USGS data.) [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
The Battle of Fallen Timbers occurred near the Maumee River a few miles southwest of Toledo, near the town of Maumee, Ohio. The "Fort Miami" referred to in this article is what became Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Then, as the Indians watched, General Wayne and Lieutenant William Henry Harrison slowly walked up and down in front of the fort, defying the British gunners who were standing by the cannons with lighted matches. The British did not dare to fire, and the Indian leaders have consequently sent word that they wish to sue for peace. It should be only a matter of months until the British, with no one left to hide behind, will be forced to withdraw to Canada. There, they will be distant witnesses of a process which they greatly dread -- the settlement of the Northwest Territory with farms, towns, schools and churches.

Originally written in 1991 for an EIR radio program, "And now, news from the American Republic"


[1] The Committees of Correspondence, best known from Benjamin Franklin’s work, were the American colonies’ means for maintaining communication lines in the years before the Revolutionary War. In 1764, Boston formed the earliest Committee of Correspondence to encourage opposition to Britain’s stiffening of customs enforcement and prohibition of American paper money. The following year, New York formed a similar committee to keep the other colonies notified of its actions in resisting the Stamp Act. In 1773, the Virginia House of Burgesses proposed that each colonial legislature appoint a committee for intercolonial correspondence. The exchanges that followed built solidarity during the turbulent times and helped bring about the formation of the First Continental Congress in 1774. The Committees continued to function in the following years as a US Intelligence Service.